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Published by Field Museum of Natural History 

Volume 72 





J (J, '"% 




March 30, 1979 


A Continuation of the 








Published by Field Museum of Natural History 

Volume 72 



Curator, North American Archaeology and Ethnology 
Field Museum of Natural History 

March 30, 1979 
Publication 1296 

Library of Congress Catalog Card No.: 78-60830 
ISSN 0071-4739 



List of Illustrations ix 

Preface 1 

Abbreviations 2 


The lower-middle Yukon and its inhabitants 3 

Methodology 8 

I Settlements on the Innoko River and Shageluk Slough 12 

Introduction 12 

Site descriptions 15 

Population of the lower Innoko 26 

The upper Innoko River 27 

II Village Sites on the Anvik River and in the Vicinity of Anvik Village. . 31 

Introduction 31 

Site descriptions 31 

III Settlements on the Yukon River: Anvik to the Confluence with 
Shageluk Slough 45 

Introduction 45 

Site descriptions 45 

IV Settlements on the Yukon River: Deadmans Slough to the Mouth of 
the Innoko River 54 

Introduction 54 

Site descriptions 54 

V Analysis and Conclusions 70 

Settlement typology 70 

Houses and community patterns 73 

Population changes 77 

Distribution of settlements 79 

Settlement pattern continuity and change 84 

Settlement pattern determinants - a comparison 86 

References 88 

Index 94 




1. Map of Alaska 5 

2. Map of the lower Innoko River 13 

3. Map of the Anvik River and vicinity 32 

4. Map of the Yukon River between Anvik and the confluence with 

Shageluk Slough 46 

5. Map of the Yukon River between Anvik and Holy Cross 55 


1. Village of Old Shageluk (HC-8) about 1917 20 

2. The mission and Anvik Point settlement (HC-14) about 1895 33 

3. Anvik Point (HC-14) about 1920 34 

4. The church at Anvik on January 1, 1919 35 

5. Four Mile fish camp (HC-27) in 1919 47 

6. The mission at Holy Cross (HC-54) about 1895 65 


This study describes a series of historic archaeological sites along 
the lower-middle Yukon River and its tributaries in west-central 
Alaska. Changing settlement patterns in the area during the nine- 
teenth and early twentieth centuries are reconstructed and an 
assessment is made of the factors responsible for changes with a 
view to determining the manner in which cultural institutions are 
reflected in settlement configurations. Comparisons are also made 
with data on Eskimo settlement patterns in southwestern Alaska. 
The specific methodology on which this study is based is discussed 
in detail in the introduction. 

The two seasons of field research on which this study is based 
were supported financially by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for An- 
thropological Research (1972) and the James R. Getz Fund of Field 
Museum of Natural History (1974). In Alaska the following indi- 
viduals were particularly helpful in contributing logistic support 
and time and effort toward the assemblage of the historical and 
ethnographic data utilized in this study: Mr. and Mrs. Charles 
Lucier, Anchorage; Dr. Mim Harris Dixon, College; Mr. Adolph 
Hamilton, Mr. Hamilton Hamilton, the late Mr. Joseph Hamilton, 
and Mrs. Mathilda Dutchman of Shageluk; Mr. Henry Deacon and 
Mr. John Deacon of Grayling; Mr. and Mrs. Terrance Wharton, Mr. 
Terrance Wharton, Jr., Mr. Marcus Mailelle, Mr. Wilson Mailelle, 
Mr. Calvin Chase, and Mr. Lucius Young of Anvik; also Mr. and 
Mrs. James Fullton, formerly associated with the Episcopal Church 
in that village. 

For assistance in obtaining much of the historical material on 
which this study is based, I wish to express my appreciation to the 
following individuals and institutions: Mr. Max Plaut, formerly 
reference librarian, Field Museum Library; Mr. Paul McCarthy, ar- 
chivist, and Mrs. Renee Blahuta of the archives staff, Archives and 
Manuscript Collections, University of Alaska, Fairbanks; Mrs. 
Phyllis De Muth, librarian, State Historical Library, Juneau; Father 


Clifford Carroll, archivist, Oregon Province Archives of the Society 
of Jesus; Ms. Elinor S. Hearn, assistant to the archivist, Archives 
and Historical Collections, the Episcopal Church. 

Dr. Wendell H. Oswalt, University of California, Los Angeles read 
an early draft of the manuscript and offered useful suggestions and 
critical comments of a specific nature. It is with considerable grati- 
tude that I acknowledge his valuable assistance. Drafts of the 
manuscript were typed by Mrs. Sylvia Schueppert and Mr. Jim 
Hanson. The maps were drawn by Mr. Zbigniew Jastrzebski. 







Archives of the Russian Orthodox Church in Alaska 
Archives and Historical Collections, the Episcopal 

Holy Cross Mission 

Oregon Province Archives of the Society of Jesus 
Russian- American Company Records: Communica- 
tions Sent 
Archives and Manuscript Collections, University of 
Alaska, Fairbanks 


The Lower-Middle Yukon and its Inhabitants 1 

The region of west-central Alaska with which this study is con- 
cerned includes a section of the lower Yukon River between Shage- 
luk Slough on the north and the mouth of the Innoko River on the 
south. Also included are the drainage systems of the Anvik River, a 
locally important western tributary of the Yukon, and the lower 
Innoko River, the only significant Yukon tributary entering on the 
left or east bank. The entire area is part of a physiographic region 
characterized by one geologist as the Innoko Lowlands consisting, 
for the most part, of flat river flood plains (Wahrhaftig, 1965, p. 30). 

For the purposes of this study, the area is divided into four sec- 
tions: the Innoko River to its confluence with the Iditarod including 
Holikachuk and Shageluk sloughs, but excluding the mouth of the 
Innoko; the Anvik River from its mouth to Otter Creek and the 
Yukon in the immediate vicinity of Anvik village; the Yukon River 
from Deadman's Slough to and including the mouth of the Innoko 
River. Geographical details of this extensive region and contiguous 
areas are presented in the chapters that follow. In considering the 
physiography of the Innoko Lowlands as a whole, however, impor- 
tant factors are the presence of numerous navigable rivers which 
have played a dominant role in the culture of the native inhabitants 
and the virtual absence of high mountains and large lakes. The 
rivers have provided access to major sources of food and have also 
facilitated communication between villages built along their banks. 
Similarly, they were avenues to the interior of central Alaska, first 
for Russian explorers, traders, and missionaries and then for their 
American counterparts as well as for subsequent gold seekers. 

This geographical area is occupied by the Anvik-Shageluk Inga- 
lik, an Athapaskan-speaking people who, at the time of their first 
direct contact with Europeans in the late eighteenth or early nine- 

■Most of this section has been summarized from VanStone, 1979. 



teenth centuries, were one of four subdivisions of Ingalik living 
along the lower-middle Yukon, lower Innoko, and a small portion of 
the Kuskokwim River drainage (Osgood, 1940, p. 31). Several set- 
tlements of Holikachuk Athapaskans, neighbors of the Ingalik on 
the upper Innoko River (Krauss, 1974), are also included in the area 
of this study. Total population of the region occupied by these two 
groups may have been as high as 2,000 at the beginning of the his- 
toric period, but this number was greatly reduced, perhaps by as 
much as two-thirds, as the result of a severe smallpox epidemic that 
swept southwestern Alaska in 1838 and 1839. At the beginning of 
the present century they numbered approximately 500. 

The neighbors of the Anvik-Shageluk Ingalik include Eskimos as 
well as other Athapaskan speakers. West of the Anvik River and its 
tributaries is the territory of the Unaligmiut Eskimos who inhabit 
the coast of Norton Sound and the banks of the short rivers flowing 
into it. Contact and trade between the Ingalik and Eskimos was im- 
portant in this area. Kwikpagmiut Eskimos live along the Yukon 
River south of Holy Cross to the river mouth. The only Athapaskan 
group directly in contact with the Anvik-Shageluk area are, as just 
noted, the Holikachuk, who today live along the Yukon River in the 
village of Grayling. Because of frequent interaction with the Inga- 
lik, the Holikachuk, most of whom formerly occupied the recently 
abandoned village of that name on the Innoko River, are culturally 
aligned to the Anvik-Shageluk people. 

Ethnohistoric sources and the extensive field work of Cornelius 
Osgood in the 1930's (Osgood, 1940, 1958, 1959) indicate that the 
nineteenth-century Ingalik wintered at permanent villages along 
the Yukon and Innoko rivers. In the spring small hunting parties 
left the settlements to hunt caribou and moose in the high country 
to the east and west. Beaver and muskrat were trapped in April. At 
the first appearance of open water in the small lakes and ponds 
which dot the lowlands of the river valleys, usually by mid-May, 
ducks and geese were hunted as they migrated north. Spring fishing 
for whitefish was also an important activity in the vicinity of the 
river villages. Late spring was the time of trading expeditions to the 
coast in the early contact period. Trading parties of Eskimos from 
Norton Sound came to the Yukon and the Ingalik traveled to the 
coast, usually by way of the Anvik River. 

Salmon fishing was the most important subsistence activity dur- 
ing the summer and by the time the rivers were clear of ice, the In- 
dians had moved to their summer fish camps which were usually 




located near or adjacent to the permanent settlements. Ducks and 
geese were also hunted throughout the summer and berries gathered 
in the late summer and early fall. Shortly before the close of naviga- 
tion on the rivers in late October, the people returned to their perma- 
nent villages to prepare for late fall and early winter hunting and 
trapping. Whitefish and lampreys were taken through the ice and 
men went off to the high country seeking large game. By the end of 
November, most hunters had returned to the villages and trapping 
continued at least until the end of December. Small game hunting 
and fishing for whitefish and pike continued throughout the winter. 
Lavish winter entertainments and festivals took place during the 
coldest months when outdoor subsistence activities were, of necessi- 
ty, greatly restricted. 

The Russian fur trade on the lower Yukon began with the estab- 
lishment of Mikhailovskiy Redoubt (St. Michael) northeast of the 
river's mouth in 1833 and the penetration of the Yukon Valley by 
Andrey Glazunov's expedition the following year. Additional posts 
were established at Ikogmiut in 1836 and Nulato on the middle river 
in 1838. 

At first, the fur harvest was abundant and meaningful economic 
ties were established with the Ingalik and their neighbors. Soon, 
however, the number of furs began to diminish, primarily because 
the Russians had insufficient knowledge concerning the country, 
the traditional economic patterns of its native inhabitants, and the 
efforts necessary to develop new patterns that would benefit the 
Russian- American Company. In spite of the presence of a number of 
trading posts in west-central Alaska, the native inhabitants contin- 
ued to depend on their Eskimo neighbors to the north who main- 
tained direct contact with the Chukchi who had access to supplies 
available from Siberian trading posts on the Kolyma River. For 
more than 30 years the Russian-American Company struggled to 
turn the fur trade to its own advantage, but was unsuccessful by the 
time the country was relinquished to the United States in 1867. 

During the early American period, the Ingalik benefited from com- 
petition between the Alaska Commercial Company, successor to the 
Russian-American Company, and the Western Fur and Trading 
Company, but following the collapse of the latter in 1883 the situa- 
tion changed drastically. Prices paid for furs were forced down and 
the Indians' greater dependence on European goods, together with 
a decline in numbers of fur-bearing and some large game animals, 
gave traders the power and authority lacking earlier. 


The introduction of commercial fur trapping necessitated a reori- 
entation of Ingalik ecological and social patterns. As we have noted, 
the aboriginal seasonal ecology of the Indians involved periods of 
both dispersal and aggregation and the fur trade accentuated the 
degree and duration of social isolation in every season of the year 
except summer. Most fur bearers had been of little significance to 
aboriginal subsistence and the effective deployment of trappers to 
harvest thinly distributed furs was different from the traditional 
arrangements utilized to take caribou, moose, small game, and fish. 
Only the summer fishing season was unaffected by the demands of 
the fur trade, a fact that doubtless insulated the Ingalik from some 
of the hazards of an economy based primarily on trapping. 

Beginning in 1845 with the establishment of a Russian Orthodox 
mission at Ikogmiut, traditional Ingalik religion was confronted by 
a small but highly dedicated group of church workers who became 
increasingly significant as agents of culture change. The first Ortho- 
dox priests were able to make infrequent visits to most of the widely 
dispersed villages and this restricted their influence. Isolated by the 
departure of the Russian- American Company in 1867, Orthodox 
Church representatives were poorly equipped to withstand the 
determined intrusion of Episcopalian and Roman Catholic mission- 
aries 20 years later. Both denominations sent workers into the area 
in 1887, the former at Anvik and the latter at Holy Cross opposite 
the mouth of the Innoko River. 

These missions, of course, emphasized programs aimed at chang- 
ing the religious views of the people, but their efforts also affected 
virtually every other aspect of Indian life as well. Educational pro- 
grams opened up a new world to village young people and helped 
them learn English, a valuable asset as face-to-face contacts with 
Euro-Americans steadily increased. Traditional concepts of proper 
social behavior were undermined and new concepts introduced since 
both Episcopalians and Roman Catholics stressed the necessity of 
living a Christian life, not just adhering to a new set of religious 
practices. In the early years of the missions the authority of the mis- 
sionaries became virtually complete since they controlled education, 
medical services, and other areas of access to the outside world. 
After the turn of the century, as the United States government 
assumed greater responsibility for services in the communities, the 
missionaries gradually became less significant as an acculturative 
force. The effects of the missions and schools on settlement patterns 
in the Anvik-Shageluk area is examined in the concluding chapter. 


An influx of miners into the Yukon Valley began with the Klon- 
dike gold rush in 1897 and continued until the decline of diggings on 
the upper Innoko River just prior to 1920. As a result, new and 
abundant opportunities for interaction with outsiders were pre- 
sented to the Ingalik. For the first time, the Indians had an oppor- 
tunity to observe Euro-Americans other than traders and mission- 
aries. In the early years of the Klondike stampede, Indians worked 
on river boats as deck hands and pilots. Although they were soon 
forced out of these jobs by whites, employment as wood choppers 
supplying fuel to the river boats continued to be available. The con- 
version of river boats from wood to oil began in 1903 and following 
the collapse of the Innoko diggings, the volume of river traffic 
declined drastically. This meant that the Ingalik were forced once 
more to rely primarily on income derived from trapping. The gold 
rush was responsible for bringing about major seasonal fluctuations 
of population and the establishment of wood camps at strategic 
locations along the lower-middle Yukon and the Innoko. 


Methodologically, the research on which this study is based in- 
volves three techniques: 1) archaeological survey; 2) ethnography; 3) 
historical investigations. With reference to the survey, a total of 60 
sites are numbered and reported on in the following pages including 
four still occupied and 10 that have either disappeared because of 
changing configurations of the river or, although physically intact, 
were not personally visited or observed. Information concerning the 
latter was either reported to me by informants or obtained from 
historical sources. Speculations concerning the location and nature 
of several additional settlements are also included. A great majority 
of sites, however, were visited by boat, usually in the company of a 
local resident who provided some on-the-spot ethnographic data. 
These visits varied in length from a few minutes to the better part of 
a day. Some sites were visited twice and a few were seen only from 
the river, a landing being impossible at the time. 

Most sites along the Yukon and its tributaries conform to the 
same general pattern. They are located along a present river bank 
and are easily visible as relatively open areas covered with a thick 
growth of very tall grass, willows, and other scrub vegetation. 
Many, perhaps most, have been partly eroded by river action. The 
tall grass and other vegetation covering most sites often made it dif- 
ficult to obtain an accurate identification and count of the individual 
house pits and other features. Sites along the Innoko and lower 


Anvik rivers were less easily visible than those on the Yukon 
because of particularly thick willow growth near the river bank. In 
the early summer of 1972, when most of the Innoko survey was con- 
ducted, extensive flooding made the location of former settlements 
or camps especially difficult. 

The absence of sizeable midden deposits was characteristic of all 
sites in the region. Since the research was oriented toward former 
settlements belonging to the historic period, no attempt was made 
to locate prehistoric sites or establish the extent of precontact occu- 
pation. Since no excavation or testing was undertaken, it is not 
known which, if any, of the readily identified historic sites had 
prehistoric components. It is my impression, however, that evidence 
for prehistoric occupation would be difficult to determine because of 
the unstable banks of the Yukon and its major tributaries that have, 
occasionally, changed dramatically in the course of a single year. 

The task of discovering and collecting information about historic 
settlements was greatly facilitated by the willingness of Indian and 
white residents of the area to share their knowledge concerning the 
location of sites, as well as to provide supplementary information 
about such aspects of settlement patterns as span of occupation and 
reasons for abandonment. There are four currently occupied villages 
in the area of the Yukon drainage covered in this study; Anvik (HC- 
14), at the mouth of the Anvik River; Grayling (HC-35), about 20 
miles above Anvik, established in 1963 on the site of an old settle- 
ment by the former residents of Holikachuk (HC-9) on the Innoko; 
Holy Cross (HC-54) opposite the mouth of the Innoko River; and 
New Shageluk on the Innoko about 45 river miles above its mouth. 

Residents of Anvik are familiar with the Yukon between Fox 
Point Island and the mouth of the Innoko River, but particularly 
the section of the river above their village where, in the past, many 
families maintained fish camps. The Anvik River was also the loca- 
tion of fish and trapping camps as well as an overland route to Nor- 
ton Sound used frequently in the late nineteenth and early twentieth 
centuries. The residents of Grayling could be counted on to provide 
information about settlements on Shageluk and Holikachuk sloughs 
and that section of the Innoko in the vicinity of their former home at 
Holikachuk, as well as on the Yukon near their present village where 
Holikachuk residents had traditionally maintained summer fish 
camps. Elderly informants at Holy Cross were likely to be familiar 
with the lower Innoko River as well as the region in the vicinity of 
their village, while at New Shageluk there were a few individuals 


who had traveled extensively on the Innoko and its tributaries and 
were also knowledgeable concerning the rather complicated settle- 
ment patterns of the Innoko between Shageluk Slough and the 
mouth of the river. 

Although a large number of Indians and whites from all villages 
in the area were helpful, the most profitable information was ob- 
tained from a group of about 10 elderly and middle-aged men and 
women whose memories were remarkably accurate for the years be- 
tween about 1910 and 1930. There were, however, fewer informants 
with decided historical interests than I encountered in carrying out 
a similar project in the Nushagak River region in the mid-1960's. 
Unlike my experiences with informants in Nushagak communities, 
relatively little information was obtained from Ingalik informants 
in response to the mention of settlement names derived from previ- 
ous studies of historical sources. My Ingalik informants were equal- 
ly as co-operative as those in Nushagak area villages, but these 
names simply did not stimulate their memories to the same extent 
and this study suffers accordingly. 

With reference to the historical sources, both published and ar- 
chival, utilized in the preparation of this study, a few comments 
may be helpful. Without a doubt, the most useful published source 
has been deLaguna's (1947) archaeological survey of portions of the 
Yukon River and its tributaries undertaken in the summer of 1935. 
Her surveys included all the area with which this study is concerned 
and she visited and described many of the sites which I located 
almost 40 years later. Her account of settlement patterns includes 
reference to virtually all the published source material available at 
the time as well as some archival sources, and she also mapped and 
test excavated the more important sites. It has been almost impos- 
sible to improve on deLaguna's careful work and if I have been suc- 
cessful in doing so, it is because I have made use of archival materi- 
als which, because of the much wider scope of her study, it was not 
feasible for her to consult. Hrdlicka's (1944) entertaining account of 
his Yukon surveys in 1926 and 1929 has also been useful. Other 
published sources to which reference has been made in the following 
pages are, of course, listed in the bibliography and do not require 
comment at this point. It is worthwhile to note, however, the many 
published articles by John Wight Chapman, pioneer Episcopalian 
missionary at Anvik, which often contain brief but valuable com- 
ments on settlement patterns and related subjects. Dr. Chapman 
traveled extensively throughout the lower-middle Yukon-lower 


Innoko area and was an astute observer of Indian life for more than 
40 years. 

Concerning archival sources, the Archives and Historical Collec- 
tions of the Episcopal Church contain letters and unpublished writ- 
ings by Dr. Chapman and others associated directly or indirectly 
with the mission at Anvik. These materials have been utilized in the 
preparation of this study. Of equal importance are documents 
related to the Roman Catholic mission at Holy Cross deposited in 
the Oregon Province Archives of the Society of Jesus. Among these, 
the most useful have been the mission diaries maintained almost 
continuously by the priests between 1889 and 1936. At one time or 
another they contain references to most of the settlements and 
camps within the area covered by this study. 

In the chapters that follow, the procedure will be to describe the 
various archaeological sites of the historic period as determined, for 
the most part, during surveys in the summers of 1972 and 1974. 
When available, evidence will be presented concerning length of oc- 
cupancy and population. An attempt will also be made to relate a 
given site to those around it. 

In conclusion it is necessary to refer to the site designation 
system used in this study, a system which utilizes the 1:250,000 
U.S.G.S. topographic quadrangle as an areal base equivalent to the 
county in other states (Hadleigh-West, 1967, pp. 107-108). Under 
this system quadrangle names are abbreviated and joined with the 
prefix "49" to form a trinomial that is similar to the system 
employed by the Smithsonian Institution. Virtually the entire area 
with which this study is concerned is encompassed by a single quad- 
rangle map: Holy Cross (HC). A few sites are located within the area 
covered by the Unalakleet (Ukt) and Ophir (Oph) quadrangles. Since 
"49" is the prefix for all Alaska, it is eliminated from the site de- 
scriptions here to avoid repetition. Thus the total designation will 
include one of the abbreviations listed above together with a 

The sites and occupied settlements will be described according to 
convenient and logical subdivisions of the total region. A subdivi- 
sion may include more than one quadrangle map and when that 
occurs sites will not be designated in continuous numerical order. 
The names of settlements and camps, when they are definitely 
known, will be included with the appropriate abbreviations and 




In this chapter archaeological sites on the lower Innoko River, 
exclusive of those at the river's mouth, and on Shageluk Slough will 
be discussed. Sites at the mouth of the Innoko are more closely 
related to settlement configurations on the Yukon and will be con- 
sidered in Chapter IV. 

Just below the present-day village of Holy Cross and on the oppo- 
site river bank is the mouth of the Innoko River, fourth longest 
tributary of the Yukon. The Innoko is approximately 500 miles in 
length, and, together with its numerous tributaries, drains an area 
in excess of 10,000 sq. miles that lies between the central and lower 
portions of the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers. 

The Innoko Valley consists of two types of drainage patterns 
which divide it into distinct sections corresponding approximately 
with the lower and upper halves of the valley. The upper half, char- 
acterized by hills and low mountains, is drained by clear streams. It 
is separated from the Yukon Basin to the northwest by the Kaiyuh 
Mountains which extend from the south side of the Yukon, opposite 
the mouth of the Melozitna River, in a southwesterly direction to 
the lower course of the Innoko near the point where it is joined by 
Holikachuk Slough, a distance of approximately 175 miles. These 
mountains are comparatively low, being little more than high hills 
at their northeast and southwest extremities. To the southeast, the 
valley of the upper Innoko is separated from that of the Kuskokwim 
River by a range of the Kuskokwim Mountains. These mountains 
are higher and more rugged than the Kaiyuh, in some places rising 
to a height of 4,000 ft. (Maddren, 1909, pp. 242-244.) 

In the lower half of the Innoko Valley the river and its principal 
tributaries meander widely over a considerable extent of low, flat 









Fig. 2. Map of the lower Innoko River. 



country consisting primarily of silt and clay deposits. Where the 
river emerges from the upper valley at approximately its confluence 
with Holikachuk Slough, the banks are about 10 to 15 ft. above the 
normal level of the river. Here and there, as it makes its way toward 
the Yukon, the river cuts banks of silt that are from 20 to 35 ft. high 
and even higher hills approach the east bank below the village of 
New Shageluk. Generally speaking, however, the banks tend to 
decrease in height downstream and toward the mouth they are 
sometimes no more than 3 or 4 ft. above low water level. During 
spring floods the entire lower valley is sometimes inundated with 
only an occasional hillock rising above the water level and only tall 
river bank vegetation to indicate the normal channel. 

About 75 miles above its confluence with the Yukon, the Innoko is 
joined to the latter by Shageluk Slough, an anabranch which runs in 
a meandering north-south direction generally parallel to the two 
rivers for a distance of some 40 miles and joins the Innoko approxi- 
mately 15 river miles above the village of New Shageluk. A branch 
of Shageluk Slough, Holikachuk Slough flows into the Innoko near 
the abandoned village of Holikachuk. 

A glance at the map (fig. 2) will show that Shageluk Slough, 
together with the lower Innoko River, creates a large island roughly 
in the shape of an inverted triangle with Fox Point Island in the 
northwest corner, Holikachuk in the northeast corner, and Holy 
Cross at the apex. This arrangement has created confusion in geo- 
graphical naming and identification by early explorers, traders and 
missionaries. In some written accounts Shageluk Slough is consid- 
ered to include not only the slough, but the lower Innoko as well. 
For these writers the name Innoko is applied only to the river above 
the mouth of Holikachuk Slough. Since in spring both sloughs 
deliver a considerable amount of Yukon water to the Innoko, it is 
easy to see why some observers considered the entire complex of 
sloughs and a section of the Innoko to be simply a large anabranch 
of the Yukon. 

According to the explorer L. A. Zagoskin (1967, pp. 201, 298), the 
upper Innoko was called "Tlegon" by the Ingalik and the middle 
river "Shiltonotno or Innoko." The lower river between the point 
where Holikachuk Slough enters and its junction with the Yukon 
was designated "Ittege" by the Indians and "Chagelyuk" or Shage- 
luk by the neighboring Eskimos. Zagoskin believed the name Shage- 
luk to mean "willow," a reference to the heavy growth of these trees 
along the river's banks, while according to one source (Osgood, 


1958, p. 27), Innoko is an Ingalik word meaning "in the woods." 
Father Jules Jette (1907, p. 178), an early Roman Catholic mission- 
ary at Nulato and long-time student of Indian culture, however, 
insisted that the name is not Ingalik and there is no general agree- 
ment concerning the meaning of this designation or its origin. 

Site Descriptions 

HC-1. This is probably the site referred to by Osgood (1958, p. 29) 
as "Sleep on the other side." In 1956, at the time of his visit, it was 
entirely overgrown with willows. According to my informants, the 
name of the village means "across (or opposite) the hill," and there 
is, in fact, a sizeable hill, known locally as St. Joe Hill, just opposite 
the site. An elderly Shageluk resident, 77 years old in 1972, said 
that he had been born in this settlement and that when he was a boy 
there were many people living there. His parents were also born 
there which suggests that the site dates at least to the early nine- 
teenth century. Other informants noted that this settlement was 
occupied until about 30 years ago and some could remember two 
standing cabins that have been cut away by the river within the 
past 20 years. The river bank is quite low in the vicinity of the site 
and the same thick growth of willows noted by Osgood was ob- 
served in the summer of 1972. No structures or the remains of struc- 
tures could be identified and it is likely that much of the formerly 
occupied area has been cut away. Informants reported that the site 
was near a good fishing location for dog salmon and that many peo- 
ple lived there in tents during part of the summer. There is reported 
to have been a cemetery in the vicinity, but it could not be located. 

HC-2. According to its present appearance, this site, known local- 
ly as Lushka's Fish Camp, has been seasonally inhabited very 
recently, but informants noted that it has served as a good fishing 
location for many years. Like HC-1, it is said to be one of the few 
locations along the Innoko for taking dog salmon, the only species 
ascending the river in sufficient numbers to constitute a run. At the 
present time there is a small frame cabin and large drying rack at 
the site, but no other signs of occupation. This may be at or near the 
"village" referred to by Osgood (1958, p. 30) as "Branches to put in 
one place," which he described as covered with impenetrable willows 
at the time of his visit. 

HC-3. The identification of this site is very tentative. It may be 
the one referred to by Zagoskin as "Khuingitetakhten," which, in 
1844, had a population of 37 living in three houses (Zagoskin, 1967, 


p. 307). A map of Alaska published in 1867 and based on Russian 
charts, as well as surveys by the Western Union Telegraph Com- 
pany Expedition (Map of Russian America . . . , 1867), shows a 
village on the Innoko called "Hoeingitetakhten," but the location 
seems incorrect. 

If the above identification is correct, this site was occupied at 
least as early as the beginning of the nineteenth century. Infor- 
mants refer to it as "Old Swiftwater," a name also mentioned by 
Osgood (1958, p. 30), although he appears to have confused its loca- 
tion with that of HC-6. John Chapman visited a village called 
"Quoloqutchiaku," tentatively equated with HC-3, in 1931 but the 
definite date of abandonment is unknown. The site is located oppo- 
site an island on a low bank that separates the Innoko from a small 
lake. Only a collapsed cabin could be seen and much of the site now 
appears to have been cut away. 

HC-4. According to informants, the Ingalik name for this site 
means "Spruce tree slough." Two families are said to have lived 
here as recently as 30 years ago and the remains of two cabins were 
visible in 1972. The site was frequently described as one where 
many inhabitants died during influenza epidemics between 1900 
and 1919. Today the area of former occupation appears low, flat, and 
not more than 4 ft. above high water level. Informants believed that 
the site, a year-round settlement, dated to the early nineteenth cen- 
tury with the few remaining inhabitants eventually moving to Old 

HC-5. Informants identified this site as "New Swiftwater," but 
the relationship to Old Swiftwater is not clear since the date of 
abandonment of the latter is not known. This is a comparatively 
large site with the remains of at least four cabins and one large old 
style house pit, its entry tunnel facing downriver. Also visible are 
the remains of a structure, approximately 15 ft. square, which infor- 
mants described as a kashim in use within the past 35 years. Like 
other sites in the immediate vicinity, this one is a low, flat, grass- 
covered area surrounded by a thick growth of willows. Much of it 
appears to have been cut away by the river. About 1 mile below New 
Swiftwater and on the same side of the river is a cemetery; the 
graves are rapidly being washed out. The village was occupied in 
1938 when it had a population of 14 (Anonymous, 1938, pp. 1-2) and 
there were still a few inhabitants as late as 1946 (Chapman, 1945, p. 
10; Anonymous, 1947, p. 19). 


HC-6. This is the location of a village which Father Jules Jette (On 
the geographic names of the Tena, OPA) called "Ekarotsor" mean- 
ing "big eddy." As noted previously, Osgood appears to have con- 
fused this site with that of Old Swiftwater (HC-3). Its appearance in 
1972 suggests that it is one of the oldest along the lower Innoko. 
The remains of three old style houses are visible, their entry tunnels 
facing in different directions. The remains of two small log cabins 
and two elevated caches were also observed. The site is on a low, 
narrow spit of land next to a slough and, like so many others on the 
lower Innoko, much of it appears to have been cut away by the river. 
A cemetery is located a short distance above on the same side of the 
river and on slightly higher ground. 

It seems likely that this is the site identified by Zagoskin as 
"Inselnostlende" which, in 1844, had a population of 33 living in 
two houses (Zagoskin, 1967, p. 307). His maps (Zagoskin, 1967, p. 
84, opp. p. 358) show it on the right bank, but the general location is 
approximately correct for HC-6. Informants stated that this settle- 
ment had been occupied within the past 40 years, but that many 
inhabitants died in the influenza epidemic of 1918-1919. 

HC-7. This is the site identified by Zagoskin as "Iltenleyden" and 
it is the largest and most impressive on the lower river. Located on 
the right bank about halfway between new and old Shageluk, it is 
probably no more than a mile from either community. The right 
bank of the river in this area is low, flat, and cutting rapidly. The 
site appears as a flat, cleared area approximately 400 yd. long and 
varying in depth throughout its length. At either end it tapers and 
is narrow, but in the center it is approximately 50 yd. deep. At the 
river bank the ground surface is about 10 ft. above the water level in 
late July. Toward the rear, the ground slopes downward and when 
the water level is high in spring it is likely that flooding begins in 
this area. It seems probable that water would stand in deep house 
pits almost every spring. The site is surrounded by a thick growth 
of willows which in some places have encroached on the formerly 
occupied area. Willows have also begun to grow directly along the 
river bank in a few places. 

The formerly occupied area is divided about equally into two sec- 
tions by an intrusion of willows that almost reaches the river bank. 
The downriver half has been occupied more recently and in this area, 
well toward the back of the site, are three standing cabins, the re- 
mains and foundations of several more, at least two raised caches, 


several fish racks, and two collapsed smokehouses. Although there 
is a heavy growth of tall grass and fireweed in this area, seven or 
eight old style house pits could be discerned, one of which is large 
enough to have been a kashim. Entry ways could not be determined 
for all of these, but where they occur, they face away from the river 
bank. There are also a large number of unidentifiable depressions of 
varying sizes. All the house pits are toward the front of the site on 
higher ground and well in front of the cabins. Two houses are very 
close to the river bank and it is likely that some have been cut away. 
This lower section of the site was still occupied in the late 1940's 
(Gordon, 1948, p. 11). 

The upriver section of Iltenleyden contains at least six house pits, 
including a very large structure that was almost certainly a kashim. 
It is located well back from the bank and has a tunnel and entry way 
which face the river. The other structures, widely dispersed over the 
cleared area, do not have obvious tunnels and are not as close to the 
bank as the houses in the downriver section. At the extreme upper 
end of the site there is a small modern cemetery in which burials 
were made as recently as 1971. 

It is difficult to discern anything particularly suitable about the 
location of this site, particularly since the area has obviously flood- 
ed frequently in the past. There is no obvious source of drinking 
water, although it is possible that a small creek may have existed 
somewhere in the area. 

Zagoskin noted six houses at Iltenleyden and estimated a popula- 
tion of 100, although at the time of his visit in February, 1844 many 
trappers were away from the village (Zagoskin, 1967, pp. 234, 307). 
Elderly informants at New Shageluk believe that the upper end of 
the village, the section occupied in Zagoskin' s time, was abandoned 
early in the present century. The lower end, frequently referred to as 
"Lower Village" with reference to Old Shageluk, was occupied at 
least as early as 1905 (Chapman, 1906, p. 755) and, as previously 
noted, up to approximately 25 years ago. 

HC-8. This settlement, known today as Old Shageluk, was one of 
the most important on the Innoko River throughout much of the 
historic period. Zagoskin (1967, p. 235) called it "Tlegozhitno," 
which, according to Osgood (1958, p. 29), is a close approximation of 
the Ingalik name meaning "rotten fish." John Chapman and other 
missionaries sometimes referred to Old Shageluk as Schoolhouse 
Village after a government school was built there about 1906. 


The Old Shageluk site is located on a narrow strip of land which 
separates the Innoko River from Shageluk Lake. The total occupied 
area, narrowest (about 50 yd.) in the center and widening at either 
end to about 100 yd., is a little more than a quarter of a mile long. 
When the Innoko is low in midsummer, the houses and outbuildings 
are from 3 to 8 ft. above the water level with the area bordering the 
lake being consistently higher. As a result, known habitation has 
always been back against the lake shore. In general, the upriver end 
of the site is lowest and this area frequently floods in spring. In 
years of severe flooding, the entire strip of land, and consequently 
the village, lies submerged, the lake and river becoming a single 
body of water. In winter, strong winds blow across the lake, some- 
times creating snowdrifts that cover the houses. 

In 1966 the Bureau of Indian Affairs built a new school approx- 
imately 2V4 miles downriver and the residents of Old Shageluk 
gradually moved to the new site. The above-mentioned flooding in 
spring and blowing snow in winter were other reasons which encour- 
aged the residents to move. Although three families remained in the 
old village in 1972, it will clearly be only a matter of time before the 
entire settlement is abandoned. 

Today Old Shageluk has, as might be expected, the appearance of 
a recently abandoned settlement or even one from which the inhabi- 
tants are only temporarily absent. At the time of the move to the 
new site, some houses were dismantled and the logs used for fire- 
wood or to construct dwellings in the new location. However, many 
abandoned cabins and the school still stand. As previously indi- 
cated, houses were built close to the lake where the presence of 
many birch stumps indicates that flooding was infrequent. Fish 
racks, smoke houses, and dog tethering places were situated on 
lower ground along the river bank. There may have been a summer 
fish camp along the bank in earlier days. 

The oldest part of the site appears to be at the downriver end 
where the formerly occupied area slopes off into a swamp that joins 
the river to Shageluk Lake. There are a number of house pits in this 
area, but because of extremely tall grass only three could be located 
with certainty. Others were doubtless destroyed by the construction 
of cabins, gardens, and smokehouses. That the site has an archaeo- 
logical component, however, is certain, both because of early ref- 
erences in historic sources and the fact that in 1935 deLaguna pur- 
chased artifacts found there from an Innoko River trader (deLa- 








guna, 1947, p. 76; pi. xi, 3; xxii, 1; fig. 32, no. 4). Through the years 
the inhabitants appear to have moved gradually upriver. 

The kashim at Old Shageluk still stands and is in a fairly good 
state of repair. It is a large building, approximately 20 ft. square, 
constructed of massive logs, six on a side. The roof is of split logs 
supported by six cross pieces and there is a skylight approximately 
4 ft. square. Inside is a plank floor and a wide bench of split logs run- 
ning around all four sides. This structure was constructed about 
1940 and was used as a community hall until the village moved. 
Earlier, another and much larger kashim stood in the same place. 

Old Shageluk would appear to have been well located in spite of 
previously mentioned drawbacks. It is bright and open and there is 
an unobstructed view downriver. Pike and whitefish are caught in 
the lake and good drinking water is readily available. The continual 
flooding was a problem, however, and is mentioned frequently by 
informants as an important reason for moving the village. The new 
site is located on the slope of a fairly steep bluff in an area character- 
ized by stunted spruce growth and spongy, wet sphagnum. In spite 
of the well-drained slope, there are few dry areas where houses can 
be built. The new location appears to have been chosen because the 
ground was high and the Bureau of Indian Affairs could construct a 
school where flooding would never occur. Since the Bureau refused 
to build the badly needed school in Old Shageluk, the villagers were 
more or less forced to move in order to obtain the new facility. Prior 
to the shift downriver, some consideration was given to the possibil- 
ity of moving out to the Yukon as Holikachuk residents had done. 
The Old Bonasila site (HC-47) was tentatively selected, but it is not 
clear what prompted the eventual decision to remain on the Innoko. 

At the time of Zagoskin's visit in February, 1844, Old Shageluk, 
or Tlegozhitno, had a population of 45 living in three houses (Zagos- 
kin, 1967, p. 307). His map, however, locates the settlement on the 
wrong side of the river (Zagoskin, 1967, opp. p. 358). The village was 
apparently visited by a Russian Orthodox priest in 1845, the year 
that a mission was established at Ikogmiut. From 1847 through 
1879 the parish records of the Kvikhpak mission simply list "two 
Shageluk villages" giving population totals, but not naming or dif- 
ferentiating between them. It is possible that Old Shageluk and 
HC-7 (Zagoskin's Iltenleyden) are the settlements to which the re- 
cords refer. Throughout these years the population of the two vil- 
lages averaged approximately 145 persons living in 20 to 30 houses. 


Beginning in 1880 Old Shageluk is differentiated from the other 
village by a variety of names and the populations given are as fol- 
lows (number of houses in parentheses): 

1880 148 (32) 1887 166 (35) 

1881 148 (32) 1888 172 (35) 

1882 148 (32) 1889 215 (38) 

1883 154 (35) 1890 214 (38) 

1884 166 (35) 1891 no figures 

1885 no figures 1892 234 (38) 

1886 162 (35) 

During this period the so-called "second village" may have been 
deserted or nearly so since no populations are given (AROCA/parish 
records: Kvikhpak mission, church register). 

The records of the Kvikhpak mission contain no further popula- 
tion data for Old Shageluk, although priests continued to make oc- 
casional visits. During the winter of 1905 John Chapman journeyed 
to the community and stayed with the trader, Mr. John Cristo. He 
counted "10 or 11 houses" (Chapman, 1906, pp. 686-689). Five years 
later census reports given to the Roman Catholic mission at Holy 
Cross by the official census taker listed 53 Indian and seven white 
inhabitants (HCM diary, July 27, 1908-Dec. 31, 1912, OPA/HCM, 
box 3). Beginning in 1920 official census figures for the community 
are as follows: 

1920 130 1950 100 

1930 88 1960 155 

1940 92 

(U.S. federal census reports, 1931, vol. 1; 1963, vol. 1, pp. 3/10-11). 
The 1970 census data for villages listed in the Alaska Native Claims 
Settlement Act gave a population of 167 for Old Shageluk, the fig- 
ures which were apparently obtained just prior to the move to the 
new site (Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1971). The considerable variation 
in all these figures doubtless reflects the time of year at which the 
census data were collected. As previously noted, a school was con- 
structed at Old Shageluk about 1906; a post office was established 
in 1924 (Orth, 1967, p. 858). 

HC-9. One of the best documented settlements on the Innoko 
River is Holikachuk, which, like Old Shageluk, probably was occu- 
pied during prehistoric times. On nineteenth-century and modern 
maps it sometimes appears as "Hologachaket." DeLaguna (1947, p. 
74; pi. xi, 5) obtained a planing adze blade from the local trader at 
the time of her visit in the summer of 1935. The settlement was vir- 


tually abandoned in 1963 when most inhabitants moved to the 
mouth of Grayling Creek on the Yukon. 

The village of Holikachuk occupied a large, flat lip of land just 
below the place where a branch of Shageluk Slough, known as Holi- 
kachuk Slough, joins the Innoko River. The site is about 4 or 5 ft. 
above the level of the river and some sections have flooded frequent- 
ly in past years. The river is also cutting rapidly in this area and it is 
apparent that much of the older sections of the site have been 
washed away. Among the previously occupied buildings still stand- 
ing are a church and a store; many more were destroyed by a fire in 
the late 1960's after the settlement was completely abandoned. 

About half a mile behind the settlement is a large lake where there 
is good fishing for pike through the ice in winter. One house at Holi- 
kachuk is still maintained in good condition for former residents 
who wish to come to the lake to fish. Holikachuk, like Old Shageluk, 
is thus situated between the river and a lake which provides fresh 
water and a significant winter food supply. In 1935 deLaguna (1947, 
p. 75) was told of a village site "on the far side of the lake" that was 
75 years old. She did not visit this site nor could anything be learned 
about it during a visit to the area in 1972. 

Zagoskin (1967, pp. 235, 307) stopped briefly at Holikachuk, 
which he called "Khuligichagat," on his way up the Innoko and 
noted five winter houses occupied by "not over 70 inhabitants of 
both sexes." A Russian Orthodox priest visited Holikachuk for the 
first time in 1852 and there are virtually continuous population 
records from 1853 to 1867 and from 1878 to 1892 as follows (num- 
bers in parentheses refer to dwellings): 















































71 (12) 


70 (12) 


70 (12) 


70 (12) 


70 (12) 


70 (12) 


115 (15) 


115 (15) 


no figures 


no figures 


118 (14) 


172 (25) 


no figures 


no figures 


192 (40) 

(AROCA/parish records: Kvikhpak mission, church register). 


The federal census of 1910 listed only 29 inhabitants, suggesting 
that the enumerator visited the settlement in summer when most 
residents were in fish camps on the Yukon (HCM diary, July 27, 
1908-Dec. 31, 1912, OPA/HCM, box 3). In 1939 the settlement had a 
population of 77 and in 1950 the figure was 98; in 1960, the last year 
for which official figures are available, 122 persons were enumer- 
ated. (U.S. federal census reports: 1952, vol. 1, pp. 51/6-8; 1963, vol. 
1, pp. 3/10-11). 

In February, 1963 representatives of the Bureau of Indian Affairs 
and the Alaska State Housing Authority met with most of the men 
to discuss the move to Grayling on the Yukon. At this meeting a 
program of mutual-help housing sponsored by the Public Housing 
Administration was discussed and the village voted in favor of such 
a program that would enable the families to obtain loans for build- 
ing materials. According to informants, the decision to move was 
made because Holikachuk was believed to be too isolated. Lower 
freight rates and other advantages were expected to result from 
relocating on the Yukon and thus be served directly by supply 
barges from Nenana rather than indirectly from Holy Cross as New 
Shageluk is at the present time (see note, p. 30). 

HC-10. In 1935 deLaguna was informed by the trader at Holika- 
chuk of an old site on the west bank of the Innoko between Holika- 
chuk and what she called Thompson (Holikachuk) Slough. She ob- 
tained an adze blade and ulu blade from him which he found at this 
site (deLaguna, 1947, p. 74; plates xi, 15; xiii, 7). DeLaguna did not 
examine this location, which would appear to be a continuation of 
Holikachuk village, but was told that the house pits were not more 
than 50 years old. 

In 1972 this site appeared as a flat, cleared area approximately 75 
yd. long and 25 yd. deep. Four or five house pits could be located 
along with the remains of a large, deep kashim out of which grew 
sizeable willows. Middle-aged informants could not recall any occu- 
pation in this area during their lifetime. 

HC-11. DeLaguna also described another site just above Holika- 
chuk but on the other side of the river where she conducted excava- 
tions in 1935. She identified eight house pits and a kashim and exca- 
vated a single house (deLaguna, 1947, pp. 75-76; pis. xiv, 48; xvi, 29; 
xxii, 2-3; figs. 19, 20, 32, nos. 3, 5). A few trade goods were recovered 
leading her to believe that the settlement was of no great antiquity. 

In 1972 this site, a cleared area approximately 75 yd. long and 30 


yd. deep, served as the Holikachuk cemetery. Five poorly defined 
house pits could be seen among the graves and it was apparent that 
willows had encroached upon the formerly occupied area since 
deLaguna's excavations. Elderly informants at New Shageluk were 
unwilling to hazard a guess concerning the age of this site, but 
agreed that they could not recall a time when it had been occupied. 

HC-12. Informants at New Shageluk mentioned that there used to 
be a village or a fish camp opposite the mouth of Shageluk Slough. 
Nets are occasionally set there at the present time, but there are no 
indications of former habitation. Zagoskin (1967, p. 235) referred to 
a small settlement which he called "Tozhgelede" and which was 
located 7 miles below Holikachuk on the left bank of the Innoko. 
This is approximately the correct location for the site described by 
informants, but it would appear to have been cut away by the river 
since his visit. Unfortunately, he gave no further information nor 
did he include population figures as he did for other settlements on 
the Innoko. 

HC-13. Several informants mentioned a site located at the junc- 
tion of Shageluk and Holikachuk sloughs and although it could not 
be located during surveys in the summer of 1972, its existence was 
verified by historical sources. Slough channels alter rapidly and it is 
likely that this site, now heavily overgrown with willows, is no 
longer located along an open waterway. According to informants, 
the settlement was at a particularly good location for taking white- 
fish in the fall. 

Jette referred to this site as "Nikadodellenten" or "Niltchado- 
delenten" meaning "where it flows apart" (Jette, Ethnological dic- 
tionary of the Tena language; On the geographical names of the 
Tena, OPA). DeLaguna (1947, p. 74) was told of the existence of this 
site in 1935 and informants agreed that it was known to white men 
as "two sloughs" or "the forks." An elderly informant at Grayling, 
born at Holikachuk about 1893, described a visit to this site as a 
boy when he noted houses with collapsed roofs. This would suggest 
that the settlement was abandoned at that time, but it is shown on a 
map printed in 1910 (Sleem, 1910). Among those villages listed in 
official census figures obtained by the mission at Holy Cross in 1910 
was one called "Nilteelihten," a name which resembles Jette's des- 
ignation for HC-13; it had a population of 54 (HCM diary, July 27, 
1908-Dec. 31, 1912, OPA/HCM, box 3). The inhabitants are said to 
have moved to Holikachuk. 


Population of the Lower Innoko 

The confusing terminology characteristic of historic source 
materials concerning the Innoko River and Shageluk Slough to 
which previous reference has been made greatly complicates the 
matter of determining the accuracy of population estimates for this 
area. Zagoskin (1967, p. 307) listed six settlements below the en- 
trance of Holikachuk Slough, including the village of Holikachuk. 
The combined population of five of these was 285 in 1843. The tenth 
federal census in 1880 enumerated 150 persons living on "Chageluk 
Slough and Innok River" (Petroff, 1884, p. 12). The enumerator did 
not visit the area and the figure seems unrealistically low even 
allowing for the ravages of epidemics during the years following 
Zagoskin 's explorations. This appears particularly likely in view of 
the figures obtained by later nineteenth and early twentieth century 
visitors. John Chapman (1898, p. 167) listed a population of 273 on 
"Chageluk Slough," presumably referring to the Innoko below 
Holikachuk, in 1898 and five years later he noted eight settlements 
with a total population of 318 (J. W. Chapman to J. W. Witten, Aug. 
29, 1903, ECA/J. W. and H. H. Chapman papers). On the other 
hand, in 1910 a geologist working in the area (Maddren, 1910, pp. 
19-20) believed that there were no more than 100 natives in the en- 
tire Innoko Valley. He counted three occupied settlements on the 
lower river and the ruins of four or five others. The same year, 
however, Chapman referred to 216 individuals living in four com- 
munities (Chapman, 1911a, p. 10). 

Some of the discrepancies in the above figures are doubtless 
related to the time of year during which they were obtained. As 
previously noted, salmon do not run in the Innoko to any extent and 
many inhabitants of the area move to the Yukon during the summer 
months to inhabit temporary fish camps. Thus some communities 
were virtually completely abandoned at this time. It is probable 
that some population figures were obtained in the summer when 
visitors to the area were numerous and travel relatively easy. Zagos- 
kin 's data was collected during the winter months and since he was 
a careful and accurate observer, it is likely that his population esti- 
mates are reasonably accurate. Similarly, John Chapman, another 
good observer with a strong interest in Indian culture, visited the 
Innoko country at various seasons of the year over a period of more 
than 40 years. It is probable, therefore, that the population of the 
lower Innoko varied between 250 and 300 during the period between 
1845 and the influenza epidemic of 1918-1919. Since that time, the 


population of the area has varied between 200 and 250 until the 
early 1960's when, as previously noted, the inhabitants of Holika- 
chuk established a new settlement at Grayling on the Yukon River. 

The Upper Innoko River 

The inhabitants of the upper Innoko spoke a different language, 
which has been designated by the name of their largest contempo- 
rary village, Holikachuk (Krauss, 1974); those closest to Ingalik 
territory were culturally aligned with that group. There were, at 
various times during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a 
number of small Holikachuk communities on the Innoko and its 
tributaries above the village after which the group is named. Zagos- 
kin (1967, p. 168) met a party of Indians from the upper Innoko in 
the summer of 1843 when he was traveling on the Yukon above 
Nulato. They informed him that they frequently came to the Yukon 
to trade their furs either at the Russian- American Company post at 
Nulato or with Malemiut Eskimo who came to the mouth of the 
Innoko River. 

Except for the short stretch of river between Holikachuk village 
and the mouth of the Iditarod, an important tributary, the upper 
Innoko was not included in surveys made during the summer of 
1972. Therefore, most of the information that follows is taken from 
historical sources, although some data were obtained from infor- 
mants at New Shagluk and Yukon River villages. 

Oph-1. The best documented settlement on the upper Innoko was 
Dementi, located opposite the mouth of the Iditarod River. Al- 
though this area was examined in 1972, widespread flooding pre- 
vented a definite location of the site. There appeared to be no high 
ground in the immediate vicinity of the Iditarod's mouth. 

In the fall of 1839 Petr Fedorovich Kolmakov, pioneer explorer of 
the upper Innoko, reached this settlement during his descent of the 
river. While there, he learned that the Russian-American Company 
post at Ikogmiut had been attacked, destroyed, and the inhabitants 
massacred in the spring of that year, probably by Eskimos from the 
Kuskokwim in retaliation for the smallpox epidemic of 1838-1839 
for which the Russians were held responsible. Kolmakov decided to 
turn back and the inhabitants of Dementi showed him a short route 
to the Kuskokwim (Chernenko 1967, p. 10; Zagoskin, 1967, pp. 81, 
236-237, 275, 300; RACR/CS, vol. 20, no. 486, folios 403-404, Oc- 
tober 14, 1841). 

In 1844 Zagoskin (1967, pp. 236-237, 307) visited the settlement, 


which he called "Ttality," and noted that it consisted of three winter 
houses with a population of 45. The village may also be referred to 
indirectly in the earliest Russian Orthodox Church records for the 
area which indicate that three upper Innoko villages were visited 
annually by a priest beginning in 1854. The only settlement identi- 
fied by name, however, is Holikachuk. From 1880 to 1884 a settle- 
ment identified as "second village" is listed as being located 30 
miles above Holikachuk, approximately the correct location for 
Dementi. Throughout these five years "second village" had a popu- 
lation of 79 living in 12 houses (AROC A/parish records: Kvikhpak 
mission, church register). 

During the early years of the Innoko gold rush, which began in 
1907, a boat landing and store were apparently maintained at 
Dementi to serve miners on the Iditarod and further up the Innoko 
(Orth, 1967, p. 266), but the operation must have been a small one 
and of short duration. The settlement is shown as "Deminti" on a 
map (Sleem, 1910) published at that time and John Chapman visited 
the village in the summer of 1911 when there were only two families 
in residence (Chapman, 1911b, pp. 1,025-1,026). Hudson Stuck, 
Episcopal missionary at Fort Yukon, also paid the community a 
visit in 1917 and referred to it as "tiny" (Stuck, 1917, p. 373). It 
would appear that Dementi was abandoned shortly thereafter as 
elderly residents of New Shageluk have no clear memories concern- 
ing the place. 

Unfortunately, it has been impossible to learn anything definite 
concerning derivation of the settlement's name. New Shageluk in- 
formants believe the village to have been named after an early 
native resident, while Orth (1967, p. 266) suggested that the desig- 
nation was possibly derived from the name of Nikolai Dementov, 
the last Russian post manager at Kolmakovskiy Redoubt on the 
Kuskokwim (Oswalt, 1963, p. 15). Father Jette (On the geographical 
names of the Tena, OPA) referred to the village as "Radiloten" and 
believed that Iditarod was a corruption of this name. 

The Iditarod River was known to Zagoskin (1967, p. 238) as the 
Yalchikatna. He made no attempt to ascend it, nor were any Indian 
settlements on its banks reported to him. This agrees with informa- 
tion obtained from informants who noted that the banks of the river 
are low on both sides and there are few suitable locations for human 
habitation. In 1908 gold was discovered along tributaries of the 
Iditarod and by the summer of 1909 several hundred prospectors 
were on the river. The town of Iditarod was established in June, 


1910, located at the head of navigation during the greater part of 
the open season. During low water the larger steamboats ascended 
only as far as Dikeman, another mining camp established about 80 
miles below Iditarod. Both communities were ghost towns by 1920, 
but during the years of mining activity there were temporary camps 
of Indians who were seasonally resident on the river while cutting 
wood for the steamboats (Sleem, 1910, pp. 376-377; Maddren, 1911, 
pp. 240-241). 

Zagoskin (1967, pp. 237-238) mentioned the existence of three 
small villages on the upper Innoko between "Tlegon," a settlement 
above the mouth of the Sulatna mentioned by Petr Kolmakov, and 
Ttality, but none of these are shown on his map. One, 
"Kkholikakat," is very likely near the village shown on later maps 
as Dishkakat and the other two may have been fish camps. Infor- 
mants at New Shageluk and Grayling were firmly of the opinion that 
there were no permanent settlements between Dementi and Dishka- 
kat but that at various times in the past a number of fishing or trap- 
ping camps may have been located along this stretch of the Innoko. 

According to Jette (On the geographical names of the Tena, OPA), 
there was an abandoned village at the confluence of the Dishna and 
Innoko Rivers known as "Tihkakat" and he noted that this name 
was often applied by whites to another village approximately 20 
miles downriver the native name of which was "Korotsenaledalten." 
Thus the Tihkakat of Jette may be the Kkholikakat of Zagoskin, a 
site that was apparently abandoned long before Korotsenaledalten 
(Dishkakat) became the only significant native village on the upper 
Innoko and of considerable importance to whites during the gold 
rush. In 1907, those prospectors who came up the Innoko by boat or 
across from Kaltag by winter trail made Dishkakat their stopping 
place since dried salmon for dog food could be obtained in winter 
and Indians were often available for service as guides (Maddren, 
1910, pp. 24-26; Orth, 1967, p. 274). The "Innoko" post office was 
maintained at Dishkakat from 1907 to 1915 (Ricks, 1965, p. 29). 

One of the most elaborate attempts to start a new settlement on 
the Innoko during the gold rush was at the mouth of the Dishna 
River, presumably at or near the site or Jetty's Tihkakat. The loca- 
tion was selected on the supposition that it had geographical advan- 
tages with reference to future development of the region. It was at 
or near the usual upstream limit of steamboat navigation in sum- 
mer, and was assumed to be a good location for a large commercial 
company to establish a central distributing station for the valley. A 


number of substantial log and lumber buildings were constructed in 
the summer of 1907 and the settlement was named Innoko City. The 
expected boom did not materialize, however, and by September, 
1908 the few remaining inhabitants had moved to Dishkakat (Mad- 
dren, 1910, pp. 24-26). Dishkakat itself would appear to have been 
abandoned before 1920. 

Although several thousand miners entered the upper Innoko 
country between 1906 and 1920, the total Indian population appears 
to have been small throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth 
centuries. In 1880 E. W. Nelson (VanStone, 1978, p. 45) noted that 
disease had reduced the population to no more than 125 and in 1898 
Chapman (1898, p. 167) estimated a similar number. In 1911, how- 
ever, he enumerated only 52 individuals (Chapman, 1911a, p. 10) and 
it is probable that with the decline of gold mining activity the re- 
maining inhabitants of the area between Holikachuk and Dishkakat 
moved to the lower river or the Yukon not long after that date. 


Zagoskin (1967, p. 235) noted that "Khuligichagat" was on the 
left bank of the Innoko and he may have stopped at HC-11. It is 
possible that the settlement known as Holikachuk, or a variant 
spelling, was not established until after the explorer's visit and that 
the old name was retained for the new settlement. Another possibili- 
ty is that a single name was applied to the three sites (HC-9-11) at or 
near the confluence of the Innoko River and Holikachuk Slough. 




After the Innoko, the major Yukon tributary in the area of this 
study is the Anvik River which heads near latitude 64° north, not 
far from Norton Sound, and flows southeast 140 miles, paralleling 
the Yukon for much of that distance. Approximately 50 miles from 
its mouth, the Anvik turns abruptly eastward and enters the Yukon 
1 Vz miles north of Anvik village. The upper river is largely confined 
to a single channel flowing in a broad valley between steep, spruce- 
covered hills. The lower river meanders considerably and is conse- 
quently characterized by abundant sloughs and split channels. The 
ends of many of these sloughs have been sealed off and they exist 
only as ox-bow lakes. After the river turns eastward, the banks are 
generally low and bordered by an abundant growth of willows and 
alders interspersed with a few clumps of spruce and birch in the 
higher places. Just above the village of Anvik, the right bank of the 
Yukon rises 50 or 60 ft. above the river, while immediately below the 
village is Hawk Bluff, approximately the same height. The left bank 
of the river is low in this area. 

According to Jette (On the geographical names of the Tena, OPA), 
the Ingalik name for the Anvik River is "Kedzono," meaning "Leg- 
ging River," possibly a reference to the excellent caribou hunting 
that formerly characterized the upper river region, providing cari- 
bou leg skins which were made into boots. In a variant copy of his 
study of geographical names, Jette noted that Anvik was an 
Eskimo expression meaning "exit" or "going out place," a transla- 
tion confirmed by recent research (Correll, 1972, p. 152). 

Site descriptions 

In this section the village of Anvik and those sites in the immedi- 
ate vicinity will be discussed first, followed by an account of set- 
tlements formerly located along the Anvik River. 




Fig. 3. Map of the Anvik River and vicinity. 

HC-14. Two totally different native names have been recorded by 
previous investigators for the village of Anvik, the oldest continu- 
ally occupied Ingalik settlement on the Yukon River. Jette (On the 
geographical names of the Tena.OPA), referred to it as"Kedzokakat," 
meaning "mouth of the Kedzono," his name for the Anvik River as 
noted above. Parsons (1921-1922, p. 51), on the other hand, recorded 
the name as "Gudrinethchax," meaning "middle people." This des- 
ignation apparently refers to that part of the settlement located in 
the vicinity of the mission buildings (deLaguna, 1947, p. 67). As far 
as I have been able to determine, the name Anvik, or an approxima- 
tion of the present spelling, is the only name for the community to 
appear in other published or archival source materials. 

Although direct evidence is lacking, it seems certain that the 
mouth of the Anvik River has been the site of human habitation 
since prehistoric times. As Osgood (1958, p. 28) has noted, it is an 
excellent location for building houses and for fishing. The settle- 
ment is also strategically located for meeting travellers along the 
Yukon River and those who were on the way to Old Shageluk and 
the upper Innoko region. 










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The present Anvik village is located on the right bank just inside 
the old mouth of the Anvik River. In 1934 the Anvik cut through 
the narrow tongue of land separating it from the Yukon, thus turn- 
ing the lower 2 miles of the former into a slough. A small creek 
enters the Anvik on the right bank just above its old mouth and it 
was at this point that the Episcopal mission constructed its build- 
ings in 1889, having moved from 2VS miles further up the river 
where John Chapman and his colleague, Octavius Parker, had begun 
teaching school in 1887. The mission purchased approximately 172 
acres from the villagers, whose main settlement at that time was 
directly across the river on a point of land extending out into the 
Yukon. Gradually, the inhabitants moved across the river onto 
church land and not long after 1915 the old village site was used 
only as a summer fish camp. 

At the time of her visit in the summer of 1935, deLaguna confused 
the fish camp on the point with the "modern Indian settlement" 
(deLaguna, 1947, p. 67), probably because there were, at that time, a 
number of substantial structures still standing on the point and the 
camp was fully inhabited during the summer fishing season. She 
correctly noted, however, that the Anvik Point site is the only area 
of habitation at the mouth of the Anvik River and its general vicini- 
ty that can lay claim to any age. In her description she noted two 
terraces, both running at right angles to the Yukon, one gently slop- 
ing and swampy and the other rising to a height of 10 or 12 ft. at the 
Yukon bank where the bank was cutting rapidly. In 1935 there were 
occupied houses and abandoned house pits along this terrace. The 
pits of the older houses extended along the second terrace for a 
distance of 600 ft. or more from the Yukon. DeLaguna was told that 
those nearest the modern cabins were about 50 years old while those 
further back were older. She noted some midden deposits and 
counted approximately 35 houses and two kashims. A number of 
artifacts were recovered by her party and are illustrated, along with 
a plan of the settlement, in her report (deLaguna, 1947, pp. 67-68, 
pis. iv, 36; x, 2; xi, 4, 10-12, 16; xvi, 3, 13, 18-19; xxiv, 3, 6, 12, 15, 
18-19; fig. 16; fig. 28, no. 4). 

In the 30 years that have passed since deLaguna's visit, the Anvik 
Point site has changed in appearance to some extent. More willows 
have grown up and it is impossible to see as many house pits as are 
indicated on her plan. The lower terrace which faces modern Anvik 
is extremely low and swampy as deLaguna indicated, and it floods 
when the ice jams above Holy Cross at the time of spring breakup as 


it has done numerous times in the past. Elderly residents of Anvik 
believe that as much as 300 ft. may have been cut from the Yukon 
side of the site in the past 50 years. This would appear to include vir- 
tually all the area where the "modern cabins" were located in 1935 
(deLaguna, 1947, fig. 10), as well as many of the house pits in two 
rows on the upper terrace that runs away from the Yukon bank and 
follows the contour of the mouth of the Anvik. 

Today there is a thick covering of grass over the formerly occupied 
area and many drift logs have been carried in by spring flooding. In 
the area where the site is cutting there appears to be 3 or 4 ft. of 
midden. Burials are cutting out at several points. Although deLa- 
guna (1947, p. 68) believed that the artifacts she recovered indicated 
a prehistoric component at the Anvik Point site, materials from the 
midden observed and recovered in the summer of 1974 included 
glass beads and a variety of metal artifacts at the lowest level of 

When Chapman and Parker first came to Anvik in 1887 they lived 
in cabins located about 2V2 miles above the Anvik Point site at the 
upper end of the peninsula that separated the Yukon and Anvik 
rivers before the new confluence was created in 1934. This area was 
also the location of traders' cabins in the late nineteenth century 
and was known as Anvik Old Station. It is probable that one or 
more Indian families may have lived in the immediate vicinity of the 
post buildings. The site of these structures was destroyed when the 
Anvik and Yukon joined, thus creating an island of the former pen- 
insula on which the Anvik Point site still stands. 

Early photographs of the Episcopal mission buildings and the 
surrounding area indicate that by 1918 the new village had spread 
along the right bank of the Anvik River for more than a mile above 
the creek that separated mission structures from the houses of the 
villagers (Chapman, 1918, pp. 245-247; see pi. 4). A sketch plan of 
Anvik published in 1924 (Chapman, 1924, p. 107) also shows a simi- 
lar arrangement and seems to indicate that by this date all residents 
had moved onto church land. 

Considerable population information is available for the Anvik 
area. Andrey Glazunov, who explored the lower Yukon for the Rus- 
sian-American Company in 1834, noted 10 large dwellings at the 
time of his visit to Anvik and counted 240 persons who came to the 
kashim to hear him talk about the fur trade (VanStone, 1959, p. 43). 
Nine years later Zagoskin enumerated 120 individuals living in five 


houses (Zagoskin, 1967, p. 307), a figure which doubtless reflects the 
severity of the smallpox epidemic. Russian Orthodox priests began 
visiting Anvik two years after the mission was established at Ikog- 
miut in 1845, but population figures do not appear in the church rec- 
ords until 1853. Between that year and 1863 fewer than 50 inhabi- 
tants were enumerated each year, although the number of occupied 
dwellings (10) is constant. Obviously, many residents were away 
from the settlement when the priest obtained his figures. From 1864 
to 1867 less than 60 inhabitants were enumerated each year and the 
number of occupied dwellings increased to 12. Population figures 
for the decade between 1868 and 1877 are missing, but the enumera- 
tions between 1878 and 1892 are as follows: 











































(AROC A/parish records: Kvikhpak mission, church register). 

The figures prior to 1883 would appear to be very much on the 
conservative side as indicated by Dall's reference to Anvik in 1868 
as "a large village of some 10 to 12 houses, each of which may con- 
tain 20 inhabitants" (Dall, 1870, p. 217). However, the enumerator 
for the 10th federal census (1880) noted only 95 inhabitants and his 
figures included Anvik Old Station (Petroff, 1884, p. 12). In 1890 
the official population was 191 (Porter, 1893, p. 3), a figure that com- 
pares favorably with the church statistics, and 10 years later John 
Chapman enumerated 157 (J. W. Chapman to J. W. Witten, Aug. 29, 
1903, ECA/J. W. and H. H. Chapman papers). Official census 
figures from 1910 to 1970 are as follows: 

1910 151 



1920 140 



1930 79 



1939 110 

(U.S. federal census reports, 1931, vol. 1; 1963, vol. 1, pp. 3/10-11; 
1973, vol. 1, table 6). 

It is difficult to interpret these figures given the many unknown 
factors involved in the various enumerations, but it would appear 
that by the late 1880's the population of Anvik had recovered from 
the effects of the smallpox epidemic and in spite of other periods of 
severe illnesses, maintained its size consistently into the modern 


period. The latest census figures indicate the effects of movement of 
some families to the urban centers of Alaska, a trend that could 
eventually result in consolidation of the Ingalik population into 
fewer villages. For a variety of reasons, among which is the scarcity 
of drinking water since the change in the mouth of the Anvik River, 
Anvik is now the least desirable settlement location in the Ingalik 

HC-15. This site is located on what is now Anvik Slough about 
three-quarters of a mile above the present village on the right bank. 
Here a stream, originating in a small lake behind Anvik, enters the 
slough. At the mouth of this stream is a large cleared area approxi- 
mately 500 yd. long and 100 yd. deep. High grass covers the entire 
site and willows are encroaching on the cleared area in a number of 
places. There appear to be two parallel terraces, one along the bank 
of the slough approximately 25 ft. above the present water level and 
the other behind and slightly lower. In between is a grassy area 
about 3 ft. lower than the terraces. 

At the lower end of the site, which extends well up the creek, there 
are no house pits, but the foundations of several cabins are appar- 
ent. At the upriver end are three house pits and a large kashim. All 
are at the extreme front of the site and have been partially cut away, 
although the cutting process stopped when the mouth of the Anvik 
River shifted. Informants stated that at one time there had been a 
large number of house pits and it is true that the front terrace disap- 
pears before it reaches the upper end of the cleared area. It is obvi- 
ous that the oldest part of the site, most of which has disappeared, 
was at the upper end and that the lower end inside the creek mouth 
was occupied later. The entire area has been used as a fish camp in 
recent years and there is a large smoke house standing at the pres- 
ent time, as well as a functioning sawmill located inside the mouth 
of the creek. 

Informants and deLaguna (1947, p. 67) referred to this site as Old 
Anvik and, according to the latter, the native name means "at the 
foot of the rocks." She did not consider it to be prehistoric, and an 
informant, aged 65 in 1974, recalled that people were living there 
when she was a little girl. A comment by John Chapman seems to 
suggest that the settlement was occupied at least as late as 1906 
(Notes on the eclipse of the moon of February 8, 1906, ECA/ J. W. 
and H. H. Chapman papers). Since neither Glazunov nor Zagoskin 
referred to the site, it may not have existed in the 1830's and 1840's 
or have been occupied only as a summer fish camp. 


HC-16. This site, located in a draw on Hawk Bluff, is sometimes 
referred to as "The Post," although informants noted that in Inga- 
lik its name means "big eddy," a reference to the movement of the 
river in this area. Fish wheels are frequently set there at the present 
time. In this location William Chase, an early white resident of 
Anvik, maintained a trading post for many years, beginning not 
long after the turn of the century. It may have been the site of a fish 
camp at an earlier date. Informants recall that one other family 
lived there at the time the post was in operation. In addition to the 
store, Chase also maintained a roadhouse that was frequented by 
miners on their way to the Iditarod country. The Chase family 
moved from this location to Anvik more than 50 years ago and 
William Chase died in the early 1940's. The site is now overgrown 
with grass and willows and there are no obvious evidences of former 

HC-17. This is the site of Peter Hamilton's Fish Camp which, 
according to informants, has not been used for at least 40 years. It 
occupies the mouth of a narrow gulch in the hills extending inland 
from the lower end of Hawk Bluff and is heavily overgrown with 
willows. There is an extensive sand bar in front of the gulch which 
extends upriver approximately 400 yd. where it has been cleared to 
form a picnic area for the present-day residents of Anvik. It is possi- 
ble that the entire area was utilized as a camp at an earlier time. A 
small spring in the vicinity of the fish camp provides an excellent 
supply of fresh water. Still standing on the site is a large smoke- 
house with walls made of strips of bark, as well as a collapsed cache. 

Both Zagoskin (1967, p. 191) and Nelson (VanStone, 1978, p. 31) 
mentioned a village located below the mouth of the Anvik River and 
Nelson referred to it as a summer village where people go to fish. 
They may have been referring to this site or to HC-18. 

HC-18. This site, known as Lower Village, occupies a rather steep 
draw between two hills about three-quarters of a mile downriver 
from HC-17. About 300 yd. of sand bar, thickly covered with small 
willows, has formed in front of the site, probably most of it in recent 
years. There is a cleared area covered with high grass, but little indi- 
cation of previous occupation. The river is wide and straight here 
and the site may have been located on a slough at the time it was oc- 
cupied. Lower Village is an excellent example of how rapidly a re- 
cently abandoned settlement can become overgrown and separated 
from the main channel of the river. 


Lower Village was established by Indians who fled from Anvik 
following an outbreak of influenza in 1927 (deLaguna, 1947, p. 67; 
Rowe, 1927, p. 465), although portions of the site may have been 
occupied earlier. In fact, the site of Lower Village could be the fish 
camp referred to by Zagoskin and Nelson as noted above. The settle- 
ment was still occupied in 1935 (H. H. Chapman to J. W. Wood, 
Nov. 18, 1935, EC A/ Alaska papers, box 14) and there may have 
been at least a few families living there as late as 1950. At the height 
of its occupation, there are said to have been eight or nine houses 
and a native-owned store. It was also the residence of Nikolai Doc- 
tor, an important Anvik shaman who died in the 1930's. Some resi- 
dents may have returned to Anvik shortly after his death. 

HC-19. Moving up the Anvik River, this is the first old settlement 
encountered. It may have been the summer fishing village which 
Osgood (1958, p. 28) called "Place where something is left," 
although it is on the opposite side of the river. Today, however, peo- 
ple refer to it as "First Fish Camp." When occupied, the camp was 
along a slough, but in recent years the main channel has cut over in 
its direction and as a result, much of the habitation area has been 
cut away. Willows and tall cottonwoods cover the site and no re- 
mains of houses or other structures could be located. 

According to informants, First Fish Camp was an excellent loca- 
tion for fishing because the water is shallow and a fence or weir 
could be built to span the river with traps set at intervals. In fact, 
this was an important attribute of most fish camp locations along 
the Anvik River. If traps were not used, fish could be speared as 
their progress up the river was impeded by a fence or weir. 

The site appears to have been occupied at least as early as the late 
1860's since it is noted on Raymond's map (1871, map). Two other 
settlements are also noted by Raymond. An elderly white man liv- 
ing in Anvik in 1974 noted that this settlement was the only fish 
camp on the Anvik at the time of his first trip up the river in 1924. 

HC-20. Located between a small lake and a bend in the river, the 
Ingalik name for this site is said to mean "tamarack tree." Like 
HC-19 it was also a summer fish camp and its location suggests that 
it may be the camp referred to by Osgood (1958, p. 28) as "Village at 
the end." An informant in his fifties was certain that the site had 
not been occupied in his lifetime. The river is deep here and has 
doubtless cut away much of the previously occupied area. It would 
not, at the present time, appear to be a suitable location for the con- 
struction of a fence or weir. 


HC-21-22. According to informants, these were winter trapping 
camps that may also have been used occasionally in summer. 
Neither location showed signs of previous human occupation and 
they would never have been recognized as such had they not been 
pointed out by informants. The Ingalik name for HC-22 was said to 
mean "willow grass in slough" and may be the site that Osgood 
(1958, p. 28) referred to as "Spruce branches shaking in the current." 
Both HC-21 and 22 are on the right bank of the river, as is Osgood's 
village, but he located it much further upriver and gave the general 
impression of considerable size. 

HC-23. Called "Red Mountain" by informants, this is the "red 
stone village" visited by deLaguna in 1935, and referred to by Os- 
good as "Red-stone." By far the largest settlement on the Anvik 
River, this site was occupied in both winter and summer. DeLaguna 
(1947, p. 71) described the site in some detail noting 20 house pits 
and a kashim and she illustrated two artifacts recovered from a 
grave (ibid., pi. xiv, 24, 29). Her account also includes a sketch map 
of the site (ibid., p. 69). 

Red Mountain is on a loop slough that was formerly the main 
channel of the river. At the time of deLaguna's visit, much of the 
formerly occupied area was open and grass covered. Now it is almost 
entirely covered with willows making the house pits very difficult to 
locate. Informants noted that fishing was once very good in an eddy 
in front of the village. DeLaguna's informants told her that the set- 
tlement was abandoned in 1898 when the inhabitants moved to 

HC-24. This was a winter and summer camp situated at the mouth 
of a small slough. The Ingalik name is said to translate as "big 
under the tree." It is in the approximately correct location for 
Osgood's (1958, p. 28) "Spruce branches shaking in the current." In- 
formants noted that this area was the approximate upper limit of 
fishing on the Anvik. Beyond this point salmon were considered 
unfit for human consumption and there are said to be no fish camps 
further up the river. One man, aged 57 in 1972, noted that his grand- 
father had lived at HC-24 and that the place was noted for the many 
large burls on the trees that could be used for making bowls for local 
use and for trade. Today people travel to pick berries on a hill just 
above the site on the opposite side of the river. There is a winter trail 
near here that crosses over to Jackson Creek, a tributary of the 
upper Bonasila River. 


HC-25. Not far above the previously described site and on the 
same side of the river is the location of a small winter camp at the 
end of a winter trail to Anvik. According to informants, the site was 
called "crystal rocks" because of the shape of stones found along 
the river bank. Today people pick berries on the opposite side of the 
river along a bluff that extends upriver from the vicinity of HC-24. 

HC-26. This is the site of a small winter camp on the left bank just 
above the mouth of Theodore Creek. An informant, aged 57 in 1972, 
said it was occupied long before he was born and called by an Ingalik 
name meaning "camp robber takes somebody's fish." One family 
stayed here all winter to hunt and trap along Theodore Creek. 

This small site is one of many winter camps on the Anvik River 
which have their counterparts in the trapping cabins of more recent 
times. There were many such camps in this area; some had names, 
but many were known simply as "so-and-so's camp." Some have 
been washed away, while the locations of others have long since 
been forgotten. For example, there are two trapping cabins, one on 
either side of the river, just above the mouth of Beaver Creek. The 
one on the right bank is older and the cabin has disappeared, 
nothing remaining but a small cleared area covered with high grass 
and fireweed. The camp on the left bank is in use at the present time. 
In 1972 there were also functioning trapping camps on both sides of 
the Anvik near the mouth of the Yellow River. 

Informants maintained that there were no camps above this point 
but several claimed knowledge of a sizeable winter village formerly 
located just below the mouth of the Yellow River on the opposite 
side of the Anvik. Although described as being clearly visible at the 
present time, the site could not be located during surveys in the 
summer of 1972. Osgood (1958, p. 28 referred to a village called 
"Under the rocks" on the left bank between the mouth of Swift 
River and Otter Creek, but that location would appear to be too far 
upriver to be a reference to this site. Otter Creek was on the route 
used by the Ingalik in their trading trips to St. Michael and Unala- 
kleet and by the Eskimos of Norton Sound traveling to the lower 
Yukon for similar purposes. Glazunov (VanStone, 1959, p. 40) en- 
countered a camp at the junction of Otter Creek and the Anvik in 
1834. An Indian had been forced to winter there because of the ill- 
ness of his wife. Anvik informants noted that it took five days to 
paddle and pole their wooden river boats to the mouth of Beaver 
Creek. The trip could probably be made more quickly in traditional 


birchbark-covered canoes. The upper Anvik was an excellent area 
for caribou hunting in the late nineteenth century, although even as 
early as the 1870's the herds may have been decimated due to eco- 
logical changes and the introduction of firearms (Raymond, 1871). 

It is virtually impossible to make a reasonable estimate of popula- 
tion on the Anvik River in the nineteenth and early twentieth cen- 
turies. Most of the settlements along its banks were either summer 
fishing villages, winter trapping camps, or occasionally both. Only 
Red Mountain appears to have had a year-round population and if 
deLaguna's estimate of the number of houses is correct and they 
were all occupied simultaneously, the population could have been in 
the vicinity of 300. It is significant, however, that Glazunov encoun- 
tered only one Indian and his family during his journey down the 
Anvik in the winter of 1834. The population of the Anvik River thus 
appears to have been primarily seasonal. Anvik Point village was 
the base from which the Ingalik exploited the summer and winter 
resources of this major Yukon tributary. 




A characteristic feature of the Yukon River between Anvik and 
the upper end of Fox Point Island is the consistently steep right 
bank. This represents the eastern extremity of a range of low and 
rolling hills rising in places to heights in excess of 2,000 ft. which 
separate the Yukon Valley from the coastal region of Norton Sound. 
Where spurs of these hills run out to the river bank, their bluffs, 
which occasionally rise 50 to 60 ft. above the river, serve as conveni- 
ent landmarks for the river traveler. The left bank of the Yukon in 
this area is consistently low, a part of the flat river flood plain that 
is a characteristic feature of the Innoko Lowlands (Wahrhaftig, 
1965, p. 30). 

A consequence of this physiographic characteristic is that settle- 
ments in this area are located almost exclusively along the steep 
and stable right bank, usually at places where creeks enter the 
Yukon. Such locations are often small, narrow valleys or gullies 
which widen and flatten out at the river bank. Two sites reported by 
informants were located on the low left bank and there probably 
were more in the past. The river is cutting rapidly on this side and 
settlements of any antiquity would have long since been washed 

Site Descriptions 

The sites described in this section begin with those closest to 
Anvik and continue northward to the upper end of Fox Point Island, 
the northern limit of the area included in this study. 

HC-27. The first site above Anvik is known locally as "Four Mile," 
although its name in Ingalik is said to mean "end of the bluff," a 
name very similar to that recorded for Old Anvik (HC-15). Primarily 
a summer fish camp, informants agreed that HC-27 also served oc- 




Fig. 4. Map of the Yukon River between Anvik and the confluence with Shageluk 

casionally as a winter village. The site appears today as a narrow 
flat area in front of a steep bluff; a small creek runs through the 
formerly occupied area. Six standing structures including a cabin, a 
large smokehouse, and various outbuildings were observed at the 
time of a brief visit in the summer of 1974. 

HC-27 may be one of the older camps along this stretch of the 
Yukon. It appears on an undated, but probably early twentieth cen- 
tury, chart (Pilot chart of the Yukon, nd.) and elderly informants at 
Anvik confirm an occupation in the late nineteenth century. They 
further note that the site has been used regularly during the sum- 
mer until recent years when the virtual replacement of dog transpor- 



tation by mechanized snow vehicles reduced the necessity for catch- 
ing and drying large numbers of salmon during the summer runs. 
As late as 1929 families were regularly wintering at this site (H. H. 
Chapman to Mrs. J. W. Chapman, Jan. 2, 1929, ECA/J. W. and H. 
H. Chapman papers) and it may have been one of the places to which 
people moved at the time of epidemics and other sustained periods 
of illness. 

Sites located between HC-27 and the mouth of Grayling Creek 
served primarily as fish camps, although it is probable that some 
were used occasionally during the winter. With few exceptions to be 
noted, historical maps and charts do not show occupation along this 
section of the river bank. 

HC-28. The area in the vicinity of this site is known locally as 
Charlie Wulf's Point after a white settler who lived there in the 
1940's. The site is located 9 miles above Anvik and appears as a 
broad, willow-covered flat area at the foot of a high bluff. Infor- 
mants noted that it was both a summer and winter camp, and that it 
had not been occupied since the early 1950 's. 

HC-29. Known locally as Joe Hamilton's Fish Camp, this site was 
used by a former Old Shageluk resident from the 1920's until some- 
time in the mid-1960's. However, informants believe that the loca- 
tion was occupied considerably earlier. The size of the cleared area 
suggests that several families may have fished there in the past. 

HC-30. This is another fish camp about which it was possible to 
learn very little from informants. An old cabin and cache remain 
standing at the mouth of a small stream which runs between two 
hills. One informant offered the information that two families lived 
there in the 1930's, but he believed the site to be much older. 

HC-31. Lucius Young's Fish Camp. This site, which was occupied 
in the summer of 1974, has been used for the past 30 years by Mr. 
Young and his family. However, it is apparently much older as Mr. 
Young's wife mentioned that at one time an old house pit was visible 
in the area and artifacts are occasionally dug up by dogs. The site, 
like others in this area, is located on a slight slope at the foot of a 
steep bluff and a small stream enters the river about 90 yd. down- 
stream from Mr. Young's house. The camp at present consists of a 
well-built log house, a large smokehouse, and a storage shed. There 
are covered fish drying racks along the riverbank in front of the resi- 
dence. Most of the sites in this area probably looked much like Mr. 


Young's camp at the time they were occupied with traditional Inga- 
lik summer houses being characteristic of the older ones. 

HC-32. This site, one of the few mentioned as being located along 
the lower left bank of the Yukon, has long since been washed away. 
Several informants referred to it as a fish camp occupied by the 
great-grandfather of a young resident of Anvik; this would make it 
at least 100 years old. Elderly informants recalled that it had been 
occupied during their childhood. Osgood (1958, p. 29) noted two set- 
tlements on this bank of the river, one of which, "Up-trail," is identi- 
fied as a winter camp. HC-32 appears to have been located further 
upriver than either one of them. It is significant that neither 
deLaguna nor Hrdlicka mentioned sites along the left bank in this 
area. Left bank camps were likely to have been winter hunting and 
trapping camps providing access to the broad lowland east of the 
Yukon. Adequate drinking water would have been difficult to obtain 
at these camps in summer. 

HC-33. Little could be learned about this site, although a cache 
and fish rack are still standing. Informants referred to it as Victor 
Vent's Camp, occupied sporadically for fishing at least since the 
summer of 1929 when Hrdlicka stopped there. At that time the in- 
habitants included an elderly white man and his Indian wife (Hrd- 
licka, 1944, pp. 207-208). A chart of the Yukon dated 1899 (Ed- 
wards, 1899) shows cabins in this general area, but they could be a 
reference to either HC-32 or HC-34. 

HC-34. The right bank of the lengthy stretch of river between 
HC-33 and HC-34 is extremely precipitous and the beach is not wide 
enough to provide locations for settlements or camps of any kind. 
These bluffs begin to recede inland in the vicinity of HC-34 which is 
within a mile of the mouth of Grayling Creek. This is a fish camp 
occupied in 1974 by John Deacon of Grayling and his family. Mr. 
Deacon was born in 1893, but the camp was used by his family 
before his birth. A small creek enters the river in the vicinity of his 
cabin and smokehouse. 

HC-35. The present-day village of Grayling is located on a flat 
tongue of land at the mouth of Grayling Creek. Behind the settle- 
ment tree-covered hills rise abruptly, but around the village there 
are only a few scattered birch and spruce. This sparseness of tree 
cover is the result of extensive cutting in the late nineteenth and 
early twentieth centuries when a major wood camp to supply fuel 
for steamboats was located at the mouth of Grayling Creek. Most of 


the people living at Grayling today were formerly inhabitants of 
Holikachuk (HC-9) on the Innoko River. 

Although Grayling's present population is a recent phenomenon, 
the mouth of Grayling Creek has been occupied at various times in 
the past. Jette gave the name "Maadzikat" to a settlement that was 
present in the early twentieth century and noted that it meant 
"amulet river mouth" (On the geographical names of the Tena, 
OPA). The place is said to have been known as "Dois-Brats" and 
"Shaman's Village" in Russian times. On a terrace half a mile south 
of the creek mouth deLaguna identified the site which she refers to 
as Old Grayling, noting that it consisted of a number of modern 
house pits and the ruins of a kashim. Hrdlicka (1944, pp. 48-49, fig. 
32) examined this site in 1926 and 1928 and removed a small number 
of burials. DeLaguna also noted an older site above the mouth of 
Grayling Creek which she surveyed and from which she obtained a 
number of artifacts (deLaguna, 1947, pp. 64-66, pis. viii, 1; fig. 15; 
pis. xiii-xvi, xxiii-xxiv). Both of these sites have been almost oblit- 
erated by the construction of modern residences, an air strip, and 
other buildings and roads on both sides of Grayling Creek. 

Although there is little doubt that there was human occupation at 
the mouth of Grayling Creek at the time of first European contact, 
the earliest identifiable historic reference to the settlement occurs in 
1869 when Raymond (1871, map) noted "native houses" at the 
mouth of the creek. There is a reference to the settlement in 1888 
(Giordano memoirs, OPA/Giordano, box 2) when one family was in 
residence, and the name Grayling is on a track chart of the Yukon 
used at the end of the nineteenth century (Edwards, 1899). On this 
chart there are notations of wood camps both above and below the 
name as well as the name "Pickett's Wood," an indication of the im- 
portance of this location to the steamboat captains whose vessels 
plied the river in considerable numbers following the discovery of 
gold in the Klondike. 

In the summer of 1900, according to Cantwell (1902, p. 267), there 
were 32 people in residence at Grayling and the settlement was 
described as a rendezvous where the Indians came in summer to fish 
and cut wood and in winter to trade, a way station for native travel 
with a largely transitory population. However, sizeable winter gath- 
erings were also mentioned by Cantwell and he described the 
kashim, probably the one from the new settlement that deLaguna 
noted, in some detail. In the same year John Chapman enumerated 


41 individuals at Grayling (J. W. Chapman to J. W. Witten, Aug. 
29, 1903, ECA/J. W. and H. H. Chapman papers). 

It has not been possible to ascertain with certainty when the 
Grayling site referred to in the previous two paragraphs was aban- 
doned, if, in fact, it ever was. Holikachuk residents probably used it 
intermittently as a fish camp, although it had no permanent resi- 
dents after 1930. The site appeared to have been recently abandoned 
at the time of Hrdlicka's visit in June, 1926 when he remarked that 
it "seems just to call for a new settler" (Hrdlicka, 1944, p. 48). The 
settlement does not appear in official census records until 1970 
when there were 139 inhabitants representing all or most of those 
who had moved from the Innoko a few years earlier (U.S. federal 
census report, 1973, table 6). 

In the summer of 1972 five fish camps, three of them in use, were 
observed between Grayling and HC-43, all of them located along the 
high right bank of the river and all at the mouths of creeks where 
there are flat open areas and the hills are set back slightly from the 
river bank. In 1974 six camps (HC-36-41) were noted in this area, all 
of them abandoned. These were associated by informants with liv- 
ing individuals, but each appeared to have been occupied earlier, 
even though specific evidence in the form of house pits or midden 
was lacking. It is probable that there have been seasonally occupied 
camps along this section of the Yukon for many years, doubtless 
back into prehistoric times, many of them associated with families 
from the Innoko who came over to the Yukon each summer to fish 
for salmon. 

HC-42. Informants reported the existence of a site "more than one 
hundred years old" above Eagle Island, locally called Grayling 
Island, at the mouth of the slough which separates the island from 
the mainland. Attempts to locate it were unsuccessful because of 
extremely low water in the slough. The left bank of the river is 
building in this area and the site may now be at some distance from 
the water and covered with a thick growth of willows. 

HC-43. The best documented site above Grayling is located at 
Hall's Rapids, locally known as Anvik Rapids, a narrowing of the 
Yukon where the water is somewhat swifter than it is elsewhere in 
the area covered by this study. According to informants, this was 
the location of a large fish camp occupied seasonally by people from 
Holikachuk until the inhabitants of that settlement moved to the 
Yukon in 1963. The camp was situated along two terraces and on 


both sides of a sizeable creek. There are a number of standing fish 
racks, cabins, and smokehouses, all in considerable disrepair but 
none of any great age. Sections of this site are heavily overgrown 
with tall grass and willows, and a careful examination of the cleared 
areas along both terraces revealed no house pits or other signs of 
earlier occupations. 

Jette (Ethnological dictionary of the Tena language, OPA) gave 
the name "tanedilenten" ("where it flows upon the rocks") to the 
Anvik Rapids site, while Dall (1870, p. 21) rendered it "klan-ti- 
linten" meaning "rocks and strong water." The settlement is shown 
on Raymond's (1871) map. Schwatka (1892, p. 326) camped at Hall's 
Rapids in August, 1883 but he made no reference to native in- 
habitants. The camp also appears on a late nineteenth-century track 
chart of the Yukon River (Edwards, 1899). 

Informants insisted that the Anvik Rapids site was never any- 
thing but a summer fish camp. When Hrdlicka stopped there in 
July, 1929 only a white man and his Indian wife were in residence 
and the location was described as "a large former camp of the 
Shageluk people" (Hrdlicka, 1944, p. 206). Hrdlicka was informed 
that the camp had been abandoned because a woman died there. He 
noted a burial ground upriver from the occupied area. The site was 
also apparently abandoned at the time of deLaguna's visit in the 
summer of 1935. She saw four pits which could have been houses 
and was informed that a standing cabin was on the site of an old 
kashim (deLaguna, 1947, p. 65). The Anvik Rapids site has certainly 
been used as a summer fish camp since deLaguna's visit and if she 
did, in fact, see house pits, winter occupation at some time in the 
past would appear to be indicated. 

Ukt-1. Another summer fish camp of Holikachuk people was 
located at the mouth of a small creek, unnamed on modern maps but 
locally called Refuge Creek, along the right bank of the Yukon oppo- 
site Fox Point Island. It is situated along a high bank on the down- 
river side of the creek and is heavily overgrown with willows and 
other trees. A single poorly defined house pit was located and there 
may be others in the overgrown areas. 

It is apparent that this site has been abandoned for some time and 
may be of some antiquity. Lieutenant Henry T. Allen passed the 
camp on his way down the river in 1885 and placed it on his map 
(Allen, 1887, map 1). The site was abandoned in July, 1929 when 
Hrdlicka stopped there (Hrdlicka, 1944, p. 217). According to infor- 
mants, an inhabitant of Grayling who was 81 in 1974 and was born 


at HC-13 spent summers at this camp when he was a small child. He 
is believed to be the only person now living who has lived there. 

Ukt-2. Another small fish camp not far above Ukt-1 is said to have 
been occupied for many years by a Holikachuk resident born in 
1890. A cabin and fish drying racks are still standing. 

Ukt-3. In the summer of 1843, Zagoskin, on his journey from 
Nulato to Ikogmiut, stopped at a settlement he called 
"Vazhichagat" located at the confluence of Shageluk Slough with 
the Yukon. He described the village as having a population of 80 liv- 
ing in five houses and noted that it was an important stopping place 
for Indians from the lower Innoko River traveling to Norton Sound 
to trade. The crossing from Vazhichagat to the village of Klikitarik 
east of Mikhailovskiy Redoubt took three days by way of the upper 
Anvik River and its tributaries (Zagoskin, 1967, pp. 191, 307). The 
settlement also appears to have been visited by Frederick Whymper 
and his party of the Western Union Telegraph Company Expedition 
on their trip down the river in July, 1867. Whymper called it 
"Yakutzkelignik" and noted that it was temporarily uninhabited 
(Whymper, 1869, pp. 264-265). 

This settlement could not be located by deLaguna (1947, p. 65) in 
1935 nor was I able to find it in 1972 and 1974. Informants had no 
definite memories concerning its location and some insisted there 
had never been a settlement at the entrance to Shageluk Slough. 
The Yukon is cutting rapidly in this area and any settlement at this 
point would doubtless have long since been cut away. 

With the possible exception of Vazhichagat, the only consistently 
occupied year-round settlement on the Yukon above Anvik and 
within the area of this study was at the mouth of Grayling Creek. 
All others were summer fishing camps, although a few may have 
been occupied occasionally in the winter. The largest fish camp in 
this area was at Anvik Rapids, although Holikachuk people had 
other camps in the vicinity and as far up the river as the mouth of 
Simon Creek (see fig. 2) not far above the entrance to Shageluk 
Slough. The fish camps closest to Anvik were used by Anvik people, 
while the area above Grayling was inhabited in summer almost ex- 
clusively by people from Holikachuk. Fishermen from the village of 
Old Shageluk were more likely to have had their fish camps along 
the stretch of river between Anvik and Holy Cross. The present-day 
inhabitants of Grayling thus settled in an area already familiar to 
most of them. 




Below the village of Anvik the banks of the Yukon River are low 
on both sides except in two places where small ranges of hills with 
peaks that rise to approximately 1,000 feet reach the river. In this 
general area along the east bank of the Yukon are many meandering 
sloughs and streams and one important river, the Bonasila. This 
tributary heads near latitude 62° north and flows in a generally 
southeast direction 125 miles to Bonasila Slough, which in turn 
empties into the Yukon. Like the banks of the lower Anvik, those of 
the lower Bonasila are bordered primarily by willows and alders. 
There is also a heavy growth of willows along both sides of the 
Yukon in this area. The river banks are probably changing more 
rapidly along this section of the Yukon than in any other part of the 
region with which this study is concerned. 

Site Descriptions 

HC-44-45. The former, a small fish camp on Deadman's Slough, is 
said to have been occupied off and on during the summer for the 
past 30 years. The latter, on Bonasila Slough near a small lake, was 
reportedly the winter camp of an Anvik resident whose family has 
used it for the past 15 years. Although Zagoskin reported passing 
two small settlements between Anvik and the mouth of the 
Bonasila River in the summer of 1843 (Zagoskin, 1967, p. 192), it is 
doubtful if anything more extensive than fishing or trapping camps 
like these were ever located in this area of frequent shifts in the river 

HC-46. Opposite the upper end of Turtle Island, on the right bank, 
is a small fish camp reported by informants to have been used in re- 
cent years during the early summer for the taking of king salmon. It 




Fig. 5. Map of the Yukon River between Anvik and Holy Cross. 

is located on a flat spit heavily overgrown with willows and is about 
15 ft. back from the present bank of the slough. A fish rack is still 
standing, but there is nothing to indicate antiquity at this site. A 
late nineteenth-century track chart of the Yukon shows a fish camp 
in this approximate location (Edwards, 1899). 

HC-47. This is the important settlement of Old Bonasila, largest 
between Anvik and the Holy Cross area and located on the upriver 
side of a creek locally known as Cold Creek just below Cement Hill. 
Jette (On the geographical names of the Tena, OPA) gave the name 
"Netsene'anten" ("launching canoes") to this site and was of the 
opinion that Bonasila was a native name "somewhat mutilated." 


Others have suggested that the word is a mutilated Russian 
designation. Glazunov (VanStone, 1959, p. 44) called the settlement 
"Magimiut" and other explorers and travelers in both the Russian 
and early American periods were likely to use variations of this 

According to deLaguna who examined and mapped the site in 
August, 1935 (deLaguna, 1947, pp. 70-72, fig. 18), there are two ter- 
races between Cold Creek and Cement Hill. The old settlement is 
located on the second which was, at that time, about 10 ft. above the 
water level and sloped up to a wooded hillside. Today the formerly 
occupied area is much further from the river bank than it was at the 
time of deLaguna 's visit and more completely covered with willows 
and tall grass. In fact, it cannot be seen from a boat traveling in 
either direction on the river. 

The earliest reference to Old Bonasila in the historical literature is 
Glazunov's and Zagoskin (1967, pp. 197, 307) stopped there in the 
summer of 1843; the settlement apparently flourished well into the 
American period. DeLaguna (1947, p. 72) believed that Old Bonasila 
was probably the village visited by Dall in 1867 and described by 
him as a "large winter village between two hills, known to the Rus- 
sians as the Murderer's Village" (Dall, 1870, p. 220). On August 23, 
1883 Lieutenant Frederick Schwatka passed "Makagamute" and 
noted that it consisted of "eight to ten houses of a most substantial 
build, flanked and backed by fifteen to twenty caches, and had al- 
together a most prosperous appearance" (Schwatka, 1892, p. 331). 

Hrdlicka visited the Old Bonasila site in 1926 and again in 1929. 
The first summer he was not particularly impressed by the site 
itself, but his interest was aroused by the "remarkably primitive" 
looking stone tools and pottery he found along the adjacent beach 
and which he described as a "paleolithic industry" (Hrdlicka, 1930, 
pp. 60, 142-147; 1944, pp. 51-53). During his second visit three years 
later, he opened two trenches but quickly encountered frost and 
recovered few artifacts. Since he professed to see evidence that the 
"stone and pottery culture" encountered on the beach belonged to 
the same people who had occupied house pits on the site, he 
postulated that "Bonasila, therefore, was an old settlement that 
persisted to Russian times, but probably not for long" (Hrdlicka, 
1944, pp. 208-210). 

DeLaguna 's excavations at Old Bonasila are described and il- 
lustrated in some detail in her report (deLaguna, 1947, pp. 72-74 
with associated plates and figures). She believed the site to have 


been occupied both in historic and prehistoric times, but was unable 
to separate the two horizons stratigraphically. She, too, found crude 
stone tools, but believed that most of these were naturally broken 
flakes which, because of their sharp edges, could have been used 
without further working. 

In 1834 at the time of Glazunov's visit Old Bonasila consisted of 
five dwellings, 40 caches, and a large kashim; the population was 
120 (VanStone, 1959, p. 44). Nine years later, Zagoskin enumerated 
44 people inhabiting three structures, a decline in population that 
presumably reflects the severity of the smallpox epidemic of 
1838-1839 (Zagoskin, 1967, p. 307). Although Old Bonasila appears 
to have been visited by the Russian Orthodox priest stationed at 
Ikogmiut as early as 1845, the year the mission was established, 
meaningful population records were not kept until five years later 
and more or less regularly thereafter until 1892 as follows (figures in 
parentheses indicate dwellings): 

1850 5 1867 49 (8) 

1851 5 (5) 1878 84 (20) 

1853 30 (6) 1879 84 (20) 

1854 30 (6) 1880 84 (20) 

1855 30 (6) 1881 84 (20) 

1856 30 (6) 1882 85 (20) 

1857 30 (6) 1883 83 (20) 

1858 30 (6) 1884 88 (20) 

1859 30 (6) 1885 86 (20) 

1860 29 (6) 1886 87 (20) 

1861 42 (8) 1887 88 (20) 

1863 44 (8) 1888 94 (20) 

1864 45 (8) 1889 96 (23) 

1865 45 (9) 1890 96 (23) 

1866 45 (8) 1892 96 (23) 

(AROCA/parish records: Kvikhpak mission, church register) 

The reliability of these figures is subject to the constraints men- 
tioned previously for those for other sites, but they appear to in- 
dicate that by 1892 Old Bonasila was close to achieving once again 
the population it supported at the time of Glazunov's visit. In fact, 
the official government enumeration in 1880 was 121 (Petroff, 1884, 
p. 12) which, together with the statement by Schwatka quoted 
above, suggests that the settlement may have regained its early 
contact size much earlier than the church records would indicate. 

According to deLaguna (1947, p. 71), Old Bonasila was abandoned 
in 1898 following an epidemic of measles and the survivors 
established New Bonasila. In 1900 John Chapman enumerated 22 


individuals for "Bonasila," but it is not clear whether he is referring 
to the old or the new village ( J.W. Chapman to J.W. Witten, Aug. 29, 
1903, ECA/J.W. and H.H. Chapman papers). 

HC-48. New Bonasila. This settlement, established by the former 
residents of Old Bonasila, is located approximately one-quarter of a 
mile below Long Mountain and approximately 2 miles downriver 
from the parent village. According to deLaguna (1947, p. 74), the 
Ingalik name means "at the point of the hill." An unnamed creek 
enters the Yukon here and several small lakes are located a short 
distance inland from the river bank. 

There appear to have been three occupied terraces at New 
Bonasila and deLaguna (1947, p. 74) counted 12 house pits and the 
pit of a kashim on the highest of these. Also on this terrace at the 
time of her visit, approximately 8 to 10 ft. above the river, were 
modern cabins and a graveyard. Indians reported finding stone 
adzes on the beach and deLaguna believed the site to have had a 
prehistoric component (deLaguna, 1947, p. 74). The formerly 
occupied area extends on both sides of the creek, but most of it is on 
the downriver side. There is a good view up the river but downriver 
the view is obstructed by Cement Hill. The site appears to have 
been used as a fish camp in recent years as two standing tent frames 
and some collapsed caches were noted. Nothing remains of the 
cabins noted by deLaguna. 

Although deLaguna implied that the New Bonasila site was oc- 
cupied immediately following the abandonment of Old Bonasila, 
there are no references to the new village in the Holy Cross Mission 
diaries until June, 1920 (July 1, 1919-Dec. 31, 1923, OPA/HCM, box 
3). Neither is the settlement enumerated in any official government 
census records. It is probable that the 8 or 10 house pits counted by 
deLaguna belonged to an earlier occupation, one possibly concur- 
rent with the occupation of Old Bonasila. 

It is not clear from deLaguna's account whether there was anyone 
living at New Bonasila at the time of her visit, but if not, the aban- 
donment was presumably temporary since the Episcopal Bishop of 
Alaska visited the community in June, 1935 (The Newsletter, Mis- 
sionary District of Alaska, no. 21, July-Aug., 1935, ECA/Alaska 
papers, box 91) and again in January, 1945 (The Episcopal Church 
in Alaska. Notes from a report by the Bishop, January, 1945, 
ECA/Alaska papers, box 91). Informants at Anvik in 1974 noted 
that the last residents left about 20 or 25 years ago. They were said 
to have been under the influence of an important shaman and aban- 


doned the settlement when he died; some moved to Anvik and 
others to Holy Cross. 

Anvik informants mentioned a "camp" across the Yukon from the 
New Bonasila site, but they were unable to remember anything 
about it except its location at the mouth of a slough. Jette (On the 
geographical names of the Tena, OPA) gave a place name, 
"Tseyozaron," ("canoe") opposite "Bonasila." Informants spoke of 
a number of small summer fish camps just above Holy Cross on the 
left bank of the Yukon and noted that at one time there was a slough 
in this area that led directly to the Innoko and was considerably 
shorter than the main channel. It eventually silted up, however, and 
the fish camps have long since been cut away by the river. 

HC-49. Below Paradise the river bank flattens considerably as one 
approaches the lower reaches of the Koseref ski River and Deer Hun- 
ting Slough. The location on the U.S.G.S. reconnaissance series map 
(Holy Cross quadrangle) designated Paradise is at the front of a fair- 
ly steep bluff on the downriver side of Long Mountain. A flat bar 
covered with willows extends out from the bluff but no indications 
of occupation could be seen from a boat and no landing was made 
during surveys in the summer of 1974. According to informants, 
Indians never lived at Paradise, but a white man who planned to 
farm the area is said to have lived there for at least a year in the 
1920's or perhaps earlier. No other information could be obtained 
locally with reference to Paradise. 

On a hill at the mouth of the Koserefski River is a site that looks 
to be old, but is known locally as Johnny Paul's Camp after a Holy 
Cross resident who in 1974 was in his sixties. The formerly occupied 
area is right up against the bluff and well above the present river 
level. Informants were unable to give any additional information 
concerning this site and it was not possible to contact Mr. Paul in 
Holy Cross. The location is approximately correct for "Aleksi's Bar- 
bora," a settlement where two families lived at the time Father 
Robaut and Brother Giordano stopped there on their way from 
Anvik to Koseref sky in the winter of 1887 (Giordano memoirs, 
OPA/Giordano, box 2). 

HC-50. Several standing structures, including two cabins, mark 
the site known as Nick Dementief 's Fish Camp near the mouth of a 
creek at the foot of a bluff. This may be the site reported to 
deLaguna (1947, p. 77) as being located near "Victor's Point" just 
above the upper end of Walker Slough. Two Holy Cross families had 
gill nets in the vicinity of HC-50 in the summer of 1974. 


HC-51. Just above the present village of Holy Cross is Ghost 
Creek (Gost Creek on the Holy Cross quadrangle, U.S.G.S. recon- 
naissance series map), so named, according to Hrdlicka, because of 
the many burials in the vicinity of the creek. He visited the site in 
July, 1926 at which time James Walker, even then a long-time Holy 
Cross resident, had a house and trading post there. Hrdlicka found 
artifacts weathering out of the bank and although "Russian" 
influence was evident in the graves, he believed, in his usual 
optimistic fashion, that there was probably a prehistoric component 
at the site (Hrdlicka, 1930, p. 63; 1944, p. 55). DeLaguna (1947, p. 
77) also believed that Ghost Creek was occupied in both historic and 
prehistoric times. Her informants give the name "old town" to the 
prehistoric site, while a more recent settlement had an Ingalik name 
meaning "the end of the big eddy." 

It was impossible to confirm either of these names during a visit 
in the summer of 1974, and at that time there was little to indicate 
either graves or previous occupation at Ghost Creek. The creek 
mouth is wide and opens onto Walker Slough, formed by an exten- 
sive sandbar which extends as far downriver as Holy Cross, but it 
was either absent or much smaller at the time of Hrdlicka's visit. 
The creek valley is deep and wide and not heavily covered by vegeta- 
tion. Informants said that it was on the slopes on the upriver side of 
the valley that Hrdlicka excavated graves. Today much of the area 
on both sides of the creek near its mouth has been disturbed by the 
building of roads and structures by the Walker family. James 
Walker's original house still stands and there are a number of more 
recently constructed dwellings and outbuildings. Local tradition 
tells of a battleground in the vicinity, possibly on an island that 
once was visible just opposite the mouth of Ghost Creek, where a 
battle of major proportions took place between Indians and 
Eskimos in the early or mid-nineteenth century (see deLaguna, 
1947, p. 77). 

Whatever may have been the extent of historic occupation in the 
area, it is clear that nobody was living at Ghost Creek when Father 
Robaut and Brother Giordano came to Koserefsky in the winter of 
1887. Upon their arrival, they lived first in the village kashim but 
then moved across the river into a cabin belonging to an Indian 
from Anvik. It seems clear that this cabin was located on or near 
Ghost Creek, but there are no references to other inhabitants along 
the creek at that time (Giordano memoirs, OPA/Giordano, box 2). 
Although a village at Ghost Creek is shown on a Yukon navigation 


chart, circa 1912 (UA), the first specific reference to people living 
there occurs in December, 1918 in the Holy Cross Mission diary 
(Jan. 1, 1913-June 30, 1919, OPA/HCM, box 3), probably a reference 
to James Walker and his family who were "exiled" from Holy Cross 
village by the mission. The Walker family has lived there since that 

HC-52. On February 8, 1834 Glazunov arrived at a village he call- 
ed "Anulychtychpack," the first settlement on the left bank 
downriver below Old Bonasila. As he did at Anvik and Old 
Bonasila, Glazunov visited the kashim which he described as the 
largest he had ever seen, and counted 300 men. In describing the 
village he noted 16 dwellings and approximately 65 additional 
structures that he called dwellings located about 2 miles from 
Anulychtychpack "on the banks of the river" (VanStone, 1959, pp. 
44-45). He estimated the population of the area at 700 and noted 
that it was the last Athapaskan village on the Yukon. Glazunov's 
population estimate seems large and may include visitors from 
other settlements who were present to trade or participate in one of 
the Ingalik winter ceremonies. It should be kept in mind, however, 
that the explorer was apparently referring to at least two com- 
munities. A population of 700 in this general area at the beginning 
of the historic period is at least possible, if not entirely probable. 

Eight years later in August, 1843, Zagoskin also stopped at 
"Anilukhtakpak," as he spelled it, and, like Glazunov, was impress- 
ed with the size of the kashim. He described it as "a remarkable 
building, 12 sazhens square and over 6 sazhens high, with three 
tiers of benches made of pine [spruce] planks that are 3% feet wide 
and have obviously been split and hewn with stone axes" (Zagoskin, 
1967, p. 193). Zagoskin counted eight houses inhabited by 170 per- 
sons and made no reference to any other settlement in the im- 
mediate area (Zagoskin, 1967, p. 307). 

Neither Glazunov nor Zagoskin were at all explicit about the ex- 
act location of Anilukhtakpak, although the latter did refer vaguely 
to its being situated on "an island or rather islands formed by the 
Ittege [Innoko], the Yukon, and its tributaries" (Zagoskin, 1967, p. 
239). The area around the mouth of the Innoko is, and probably 
always has been, a confusing jumble of islands, sand bars, sloughs, 
and true river channels. Zagoskin further stated that "before the 
smallpox epidemic the native houses [at Anilukhtakpak] were in a 
little ravine near the river bank, but now they have been moved a 
short way downstream into another. The summer houses are built in 



a straight line along the bank and appear from a distance to have 
the regularity of a European settlement" (Zagoskin, 1976, p. 193). 

Zagoskin located Anilukhtakpak at latitude 62° 13' 33" N., 
longitude 159° 49' 38" W., close to the correct location for Holy 
Cross which is 62° 12' N. and 159° 46' W. DeLaguna (1947, p. 77) 
believed that Ghost Creek was the site of the settlement and this 
location would conform with Zagoskin's statement concerning a 
"little ravine." Holmberg (1873, map) rendered the name as 
"Aniluchtakpakh" and also located it at Ghost Creek. Hrdlicka, on 
the other hand, identified Anilukhtakpak with a site that formerly 
existed at or near the present Holy Cross village (Hrdlicka, 1930, p. 
129). Conceivably, both locations could be correct if, as Zagoskin 
noted, the settlement was moved a short distance downstream after 
the smallpox epidemic of 1838-1839. 

The Russian Orthodox priest visited Anilukhtakpak in 1845 and 
the first population figures are listed in the parish records two years 
later. From that time on, village population figures are recorded 
more or less regularly as follows (number of houses in parentheses): 





99 (15) 





133 (35) 





132 (35) 





132 (35) 





132 (35) 





165 (35) 





164 (35) 





187 (35) 





198 (35) 





197 (35) 





197 (35) 





203 (35) 





205 (35) 





205 (35) 





204 (35) 




(AROCA/parish records: Kvikhpak mission, church register). 

Anilkhtakpak does not appear under that name in any federal cen- 
sus and, as we have noted, the site at Ghost Creek was abandoned in 
1887 when Father Robaut and Brother Giordano moved there from 
Koserefsky, as was the site at the present location of Holy Cross 
when the first mission buildings were constructed there during the 
following year. This being the case, the church population records in 
the later years must refer to another settlement in the immediate 


vicinity, possibly the one called Koserefsky in many published and 
archival accounts. 

HC-53. Although the village of Koserefsky would appear to have 
been one of the largest in the area covered by this study, informa- 
tion concerning its size, appearance, and even its exact location is 
extremely uncertain. Zagoskin made no mention of the settlement 
at all, although it must have been in existence at the time of his 
travels. Glazunov, it will be recalled, mentioned 65 dwelling houses, 
a number that may include caches, located "a verst and a half from 
there [Anilukhtakpak] on the banks of the river" (VanStone, 1959, p. 
44) which certainly suggests another community in the immediate 
vicinity. Unfortunately, Glazunov did not name this settlement nor 
did he note its direction from Anilukhtakpak. 

On June 9, 1868 while descending the Yukon from Nulato on his 
way to St. Michael, Dall entered the mouth of the Innoko River and 
after "ascending a little way, reached the Leather Village of the 
Russians" (Dall, 1870, p. 220) which he described as a large Ingalik 
summer camp. The inhabitants were said to have come from a place 
on the Yukon known to the Russians as Murderer's Village, iden- 
tified here as Old Bonasila (HC-47). Jette (1907, p. 178) believed that 
Koserefsky was a Russian name meaning Leather Village, 
presumably derived from "kozha" (skin, hide), but he located the 
settlement on the "south" bank of the Yukon. On Raymond's (1871) 
map, "Leather Village" is also shown inside the mouth of the 
Innoko near where Railroad City appears on more recent maps. 
There is always the possibility, of course, that Leather Village is not 
Koserefsky but rather a name applied to one of the lower Innoko 
settlements, possibly HC-55. 

More reliable, but still incomplete, evidence seems to locate 
Koserefsky across the Yukon from and slightly above the eventual 
site of the Holy Cross mission. When Father Robaut and Brother 
Giordano were looking for a place to construct the first mission 
buildings, the Indians at Koserefsky told them about a place across 
the river and "three or four miles below" (Giordano memoirs, 
OPA/Giordano, box 3). The mission is indeed 3 or 4 miles below the 
cabin which the priest and brother occupied at Ghost Creek during 
the winter of 1887, a cabin which, as previously noted, was opposite 

Sister M.J. Calasanctius, a member of the first group of Sisters of 
St. Ann to come to the Holy Cross mission in the summer of 1888, 


noted that Koserefsky was located across the Yukon from the mis- 
sion and "three miles above" (Calasanctius, 1935, p. 309). A late 
nineteenth-century track chart of the Yukon (Edwards, 1899) shows 
a number of houses and other structures on the river bank opposite 
Ghost Creek, but no name is given to this camp or settlement. 
Hrdlicka visited the Koserefsky site in July, 1929 and located it 
about 4 miles above the mouth of the Innoko. However, he gave no 
details concerning its appearance other than to note that it was be- 
ing rapidly washed away (Hrdlicka, 1944, pp. 221-222). DeLaguna 
was told of the site in 1935, but did not go there (deLaguna, 1947, p. 
77). Her map (p. 64), however, shows it situated inside the mouth of 
the Innoko. 

Koserefsky must have been the most important settlement in the 
vicinity of the mouth of the Innoko by the time the Jesuits arrived 
in the winter of 1887, and in 1890 it had a population of 131 (Porter, 
1893, p. 7). Ghost Creek was either a seasonal settlement or com- 
pletely abandoned by this time and if there were people living at the 
location eventually chosen for the mission, the priest and brother 
make no mention of the fact. Regardless of its location, however, it 
was the village of Koserefsky that supplied inhabitants for the new 
mission settlement called Holy Cross. In fact, the post office 
established at the mission in 1899 was first called Koserefsky and 
not changed to the mission's name until 1912 (Ricks, 1965, p. 36) 
when most Indians had moved across the river. 

It is impossible to say with certainty when the last families left 
Koserefsky, but the settlement is not mentioned by name in the mis- 
sion diaries after March, 1908 (HCM diary, July 17, 1904-July 26, 
1908, OPA/HCM, box 3). Movement onto mission land was 
doubtless the most important factor in the abandonment of the 
village, but action of the river must also be taken into account. Mis- 
sion records indicate that between 1890 and 1897 200 ft. eroded 
from the bank of the river in front of Koserefsky (Koserefsky 
records, OPA/HCM, box 5). 

HC-54. When Father Robaut and Brother Giordano inquired con- 
cerning a location for their mission, they were told of a place below 
Koserefsky and on the other side of the Yukon where there had been 
an old village and a creek flowed at the foot of a hill. In the spring of 
1888, land was cleared for the first mission buildings (Giordano 
memoirs, OPA/Giordano, box 2) at the place called "Tihloyikeyit" 
(in the angle of a hill), a reference, presumably, to the hill at the 
upriver end of the new settlement ( Jette, On the geographical names 

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of the Tena, OPA). Jette further noted that an Eskimo name for 
Holy Cross was "Inreal'ra-meut" (ugly hill). 

The Indian families who first moved from Koserefsky to the site 
of the new mission were doubtless those who, as at Anvik, had em- 
braced, at least superficially, the teachings of the church. The first 
residents apparently moved to the upriver end of the mission site in 
the lee of the hill. Later these early members of the church's flock 
lived below the mission buildings near the river bank and the 
upriver location came to be associated with those who were 
lukewarm about the Catholic faith or rejected it entirely. By the fall 
of 1914, the entire "Upper Village," as it was called, appears to have 
been abandoned, implying, presumably, that all remaining in- 
habitants of Holy Cross were at least nominal church members 
(Koserefsky records, OPA/HCM, box 5). 

From that time on Holy Cross became the dominant, and even- 
tually the only, settlement in the area and its recorded population 
statistics are as follows: 

1910 123 

(In addition to 92 children 

and 17 staff associated 

with the mission) 

1920 approx. 200 

(Harrington 1918, p. 20; U.S. federal census reports, 1931, vol. 1; 
1952, vol. 1, pp. 51/6-8; 1973, vol. 1, table 6; HCM diary, July 27, 
1908-Dec. 31, 1912, OPA/HCM, box 3). 

At the beginning of the Innoko gold rush in 1908, Holy Cross was 
an important transport point for supplies going to miners on the 
upper Innoko and its tributaries. Following the decline of mining 
after about 1915, the community also declined in importance and in 
1957 the Roman Catholic Mission was closed. Children attending 
the mission's boarding school were transferred to another church 
school at Glenallen. 

Changes in the river channel, so frequent along the lower Yukon, 
greatly affected Holy Cross. At the time of Hrdlicka's visit in 1929, 
the priests told him that within the past 25 years at least 900 feet 
had been cut from the bank in front of the mission (Hrdlicka, 1944, 
p. 221). This rapid cutting partially destroyed the mission gardens 
which were an important element in the support of the school 
children. In addition, a large sandbar which had begun to form 
upriver from the mission and the community sometime after 1900, 
extended further down each year, eventually cutting off Holy Cross 












from the main channel and making it difficult to bring in supplies. 
These factors were, among others, responsible for the closing of the 
mission and a decline in population which Holy Cross has experienc- 
ed in the last 10 years. 

HC-55. This site, one of the largest abandoned settlements on the 
Innoko, is located on the right bank at the point where the river 
empties into Red Wing Slough. At the upriver end of the site are at 
least six large, deep house pits near the bank of a small dried-up 
slough. There are also five collapsed cabins of more recent vintage 
at the opposite end. The river bank is building in front of the former- 
ly occupied area and there are about 50 feet of mud flats covered 
with young willows in this area. Near the cabin remains is an exten- 
sive cleared area and the foundation logs of a large rectangular 
structure which may have been a store or warehouse. 

This is probably the site that was known locally as Shageluk 
Point and it may have been occupied at least as early as the 1860's 
when two members of the Western Union Telegraph Company Ex- 
pedition, George R. Adams and P. H. Smith, mentioned a large set- 
tlement "of over one hundred inhabitants" within the mouth of the 
Innoko (diaries of Adams and Smith, UA). Adams and Smith were 
members of Dall's party and the location of HC-55 suggests the lat- 
ter's "Leather Village of the Russians" (Dall, 1870, p. 220). In the 
Holy Cross mission diaries for the 1920's there are numerous 
references to Shageluk Point and the resident trader, Alec Richard- 
son (HCM diaries, July 1, 1919-Dec. 31, 1923; Jan. 1, 1924-Aug. 31, 
1936, OPA/HCM, boxes 3-4). According to Anvik informants, the 
store was still in operation into the early 1930's and the site may 
have been abandoned at about that time. Some inhabitants are said 
to have moved up the Innoko to Old Shageluk and others to Holy 

HC-56. In 1901 the construction of a railroad from Iliamna Bay on 
Cook Inlet to the Yukon was proposed. This ambitious project was 
intended to open the great inland region of western Alaska 
previously serviced only by circuitous water routes. The promoters 
of the Alaska Shortline Railway, as it was to be known, considered 
the Yukon Valley to have great agricultural potential, but believed 
that development would be impossible without a rail connection to 
the coast (The Alaska Shortline Railway and Navigation Co., 1903, 
p. 8; Railway routes in Alaska, 1913, pp. 90-91). 

In October, 1901 a party of 20 men and a number of horses arrived 
at Holy Cross and set up a camp inside the mouth of the Innoko 


River at a place later to be referred to as Railroad City, but known 
at the mission and Koserefsky as "the horse camp." (HCM diary, 
Oct. 1, 1900-May 12, 1902, OPA/HCM, box 2). The survey party 
stayed through the winter, but the proposed route was abandoned 
as being too far to the southwest to permit its use as a trunk line 
into the interior. The surveyors and their horses had departed from 
Railroad City by the following winter (Smith, 1915, p. 255; 1917, pp. 

Although a few Indians from Koserefsky and Shageluk Point may 
have lived at Railroad City following the departure of the survey 
crew, the site was of little importance until October, 1910 when, at 
the height of the Innoko gold rush, an enterprising entrepreneur ap- 
proached the mission at Holy Cross with plans for a "future town" 
at or near the site of the former horse camp. He explained to un- 
enthusiastic mission personnel that he wished to draw a population 
of Indians from Holy Cross and painted a glowing picture of a town 
with sidewalks, gardens, a fishery, well-built houses, curio store, 
hotel, station for the Northern Navigation Company, and regular 
wood-cutting contracts to provide fuel for the steamboats and 
employment for the Indians. The mission, fearing increased secular 
influence, was distinctly cool to these optimistic arrangements and, 
in fact, the grandiose plans apparently fell through rapidly before 
any construction was accomplished (HCM, July 27, 1908-Dec. 31, 
1912, OPA/HCM, box 3). 

The following year the Northern Commercial Company moved 
their warehouses and oil tanks from Holy Cross to Railroad City 
and renamed the "town" Red Wing. This established a new transfer 
point for freight bound overland to Iditarod or up the Innoko River 
(Kitchner, 1954, pp. 112-113). From that time on until at least the 
beginning of World War II, Railroad City was an important tran- 
shipment point for freight going up the Innoko to Flat, the only 
mining town to continue operations after the collapse of the Innoko 
gold rush. Informants stated that as many as 8 or 10 families of In- 
dians lived at Railroad City and worked as longshoremen or in other 
capacities during the shipping season. There were a number of oil 
storage tanks and a large warehouse as well as residences and other 
structures at the site. 

The site has been completely abandoned since the early 1950's. 
Dilapidated cabins are all that remain of what was once a bustling 
settlement during the navigation season in the years when traffic on 


the Yukon and Innoko Rivers reflected the diverse requirements of 
gold mining operations in a remote area. 

Settlement patterns between Anvik and the mouth of the Innoko 
River represent a combination of traditional patterning as reflected 
by Old Bonasila, Anilukhtakpak, Koserefsky, and probably a 
number of fish and trapping camps, and contact patterns reflected 
by the mission at Holy Cross and Railroad City. It is significant, 
however, that the mouth of the Innoko has been an important 
population center at least since protohistoric times. Anilukhtakpak 
played a significant role in the exchange of furs and other local pro- 
ducts even before the Russian presence was felt on the Yukon. Its 
location at the mouth of the Innoko River close to much-used por- 
tages to the Kuskokwim River and to the Indian-Eskimo boundary 
assured its strategic importance to the trade with coastal peoples 
and therefore a place of considerable interest to the Russians 
(Zagoskin, 1967, p. 197). In the American period, the establishment 
of the Holy Cross mission and school and the discovery of gold on 
the upper Innoko and its tributaries assured the importance of this 
area and its settlements well into the modern period. 



Settlement Typology 

Of the many published settlement pattern studies, two appear to 
be particularly applicable to an understanding of the settlement 
configuration of the Anvik-Shageluk Ingalik and the upper Innoko 
Holikachuk described in the preceding pages. K-C. Chang (1962) 
developed a typology for circumpolar societies that emphasizes the 
importance of the annual subsistence region. This is defined as the 
total area utilized by a group of people for subsistence throughout 
the year. If the ecological potential of the annual subsistence region 
is such that it can be occupied continuously over a long period of 
time, then the settlements within it are called sedentary seasonal 
settlements. These can be of two types: those which remain within 
the annual subsistence region at a permanent locale are called seden- 
tary seasonal settlements with permanent bases, and those remain- 
ing within the limits of the annual subsistence region, but moving to 
a different locale after several years of occupancy are called seden- 
tary seasonal settlements with transient bases (Chang, 1962, pp. 

Another useful socio-cultural classification is that of Beardsley et 
al. (1956) which formulates seven primary types of community pat- 
terning among non-herding peoples. One of these, the Central-Based 
Wandering type, is applicable to the area under discussion. For 
Beardsley and his colleagues, the Central-Based Wandering com- 
munity is one "that spends part of each year wandering and the rest 
at a settlement or 'central base,' to which it may or may not return 
in subsequent years" (1956, p. 138). This type of community patter- 
ning is a form of compromise between wandering and sedentary life 
and is possible in areas where wild foods are unusually abundant 
and can thus be converted to storageable surpluses. Such com- 
munities are further characterized by socio-cultural cohesion during 



the sedentary aspect and breaking into smaller segments or even 
nuclear families during the wandering phase. These smaller 
segments are economically self-sufficient at such times (Beardsley 
etal., 1956, p. 138). 

With reference to Chang's (1962) settlement classification, the 
Anvik-Shageluk area conforms to his definition of an annual sub- 
sistence region and the various sites described in the previous pages 
can be designated as sedentary seasonal settlements within this 
region. According to Osgood (1958, p. 30), the traditional Ingalik 
utilized three types of settlements depending on the season of the 
year: winter villages which were the permanent homes of their in- 
habitants, spring fishing and trapping camps, sometimes referred 
to as "canoe villages," to which people sledged their canoes in 
spring before the ice broke up, and summer fish camps. The latter 
were sometimes located directly in front of the winter villages, but 
they were always smaller because some families preferred to move 
to locations along the river to take advantage of good fishing sites. 

When it comes to Chang's distinction between sedentary seasonal 
settlements with permanent bases and those with transient bases, 
certain problems arise. The question here concerns the length of 
time that a seasonal settlement must be occupied before it can be 
considered a permanent base. A number of village sites along the 
lower-middle Yukon and its tributaries can, with certainty, be iden- 
tified as seasonal settlements with permanent bases since they were 
clearly occupied for a lengthy period of time and their inhabitants 
returned year after year even though they may have spent part of 
their time in settlements with transient bases. 

On the Innoko River and Shageluk Slough at least nine sites 
(HC-3-10, Oph-1) can be considered as winter villages and thus iden- 
tified as sedentary seasonal settlements with permanent bases. 
Three others (HC-1, 11, 13) may belong in this category, but there is 
insufficient evidence to be certain. Two sites (HC-2, 12), only one of 
which was intact at the time of this study, definitely appear to have 
been fish camps and thus can be identified with certainty as seden- 
tary seasonal settlements with transient bases. 

On the Yukon in the vicinity of Anvik village, only that settle- 
ment (HC-14) served as a permanent base, although two additional 
sites (HC-1 5, 18) may have belonged in this category at one time or 
another. Lower Village (HC-1 8), for example, was apparently a per- 
manent base after 1927, but may have been a fish camp earlier. Two 


sites (HC-16, 17) were presumably fish camps and thus transient 
bases. The former was actually the location of a trading post, but 
there are indications that, like Lower Village, it was once a site for 
summer fishing. Along the Anvik River only Red Mountain (HC-23) 
served as a permanent base. The others (HC-19-22, 24-26) were 
either summer fishing sites, winter trapping camps, or both. 

Like the Anvik River, the Yukon above Anvik village was, for the 
most part, inhabited only seasonally. Of the 20 sites in this area 
only Grayling (HC-35) appears to have served as a permanent base, 
although Vazhichagat (Ukt-3) may also belong to this category. The 
remaining were clearly summer fish camps utilized for varying 
periods of time. Below Anvik village on the Yukon the situation is 
similar although there were fewer settlements of any type. Four 
sites have been identified as fishing or trapping camps (HC-44-46, 
49-50), while Old Bonasila (HC-47) and New Bonasila (HC-48) were 
definitely permanent bases. 

In the Holy Cross-mouth of the Innoko area the settlement pat- 
tern was, as previously noted, complicated by changes in the river 
bank and the impossibility of identifying definitely some settle- 
ments named in historical sources. Nevertheless, it is clear that this 
area was the major population center in the region since five of the 
six sites (HC-51-55) were important winter villages. The sixth 
(HC-56) probably falls outside the categories being considered here 
since it was originally occupied in response to the presence of a 
railroad construction crew in the area. 

According to the breakdown given above, there may have been as 
many as 27 settlements with permanent bases in the area of this 
study and 33 with transient bases. It should be emphasized again, 
however, that the distinction between the two types of settlements 
is not always clear. Many sites identified as seasonal settlements 
with transient bases may have been occupied more or less con- 
tinuously for many years even though they were never anything 
more than fishing or trapping camps. A good example of this is HC- 
43, a fish camp located at Hall's Rapids below Fox Point Island on 
the Yukon. Although probably never a winter village, it appears to 
have been occupied seasonally at least as early as 1870 and until 
sometime in the mid-1930's or even later. Thus it could easily 
qualify as a permanent base. Nevertheless, there would appear to be 
a clear distinction between the major villages in the area and those 
of strictly seasonal and therefore secondary importance. It is clear 
that the Ingalik occupied their fishing and trapping sites for shorter 


periods, both seasonally and over a continuous period of time, than 
they did their winter villages, many of which were occupied con- 
tinuously throughout all or most of the contact period. 

The Central-Based Wandering type of settlement pattern defined 
by Beardsley and his colleagues closely fits the seasonal cycle of the 
Ingalik and Holikachuk Athapaskans. This form of patterning was 
possible, of course, because of the riverine emphasis that 
characterized Indian culture in this area. At the same time, 
however, the type of inland hunting practiced by the nineteenth- 
century inhabitants of the lower-middle Yukon necessitated the 
breaking up of the community into small functional groups that 
wandered over the interior in search of caribou, moose, and other 
wild game. These small groups, in some cases not more than a single 
nuclear family, also functioned as trappers throughout the proto- 
contact and contact periods. It is probable that the advent of trap- 
ping brought about a more complete segmentation of the com- 
munities than had occurred under aboriginal conditions. However, 
few sites identified with any certainty as trapping camps could be 
located during the surveys reported in this study. Most were 
doubtless situated along small creeks flowing into the larger 
tributaries of the Yukon. 

Houses and Community Patterns 

A typical Ingalik winter village consisted of a large kashim which 
served as a ceremonial house, men's social center, and workshop, 
and a row of semi-subterranean residences. Behind the houses were 
numerous caches for storing dried fish and other food, while 
elevated racks for sledges and boats were situated between and in 
front of the residences. The kashim was the most impressive struc- 
ture in every winter village, as is evident from Zagoskin's (1967, p. 
193) description of the structure at Anilukhatakpak quoted in the 
previous chapter. The most common form of dwelling in the summer 
fishing camps was above ground, of frame construction, and with 
walls made of sheets of spruce or birch bark. Temporary shelters of 
spruce poles and boughs were used during brief stays in the "canoe 
villages" (Osgood, 1940, pp. 290-318, 323-328). 

In 1843-1844 when Zagoskin explored the Ingalik country he 
visited the nine winter villages listed below, all but one of which 
have been described in the preceding pages, although some of the 
identifications must be considered tentative (Zagoskin, 1967, p. 














Tlegozhitno (Shageluk) 



Khuligichagat (Holikachuk) 






Anvig (Anvik) 



Makki (Bonasila) 









These figures indicate an average occupancy of a little more than 17 
persons per house and suggest that a winter village with eight or 
more houses should be considered very large indeed. A later 
observer agreed that anywhere from 15 to 20 individuals, usually 
members of at least two nuclear families, lived in a traditional semi- 
subterranean winter house (Chapman, 1900, p. 6). 

In Ingalik winter villages during the early historic period the focal 
point for community life was the kashim. Always the largest struc- 
ture in a settlement, it was the center of ceremonial life, the place 
where many social obligations were fulfilled, and where men and 
boys spent much of their time. Another characteristic of the kashim 
was the absence of women and young girls, who could enter the 
structure only on errands and to bring food. Women played no part 
in the various kashim activities (Osgood, 1958, pp. 33-38). 

Although kashims must have been impressive structures in oc- 
cupied settlements, they are sometimes difficult to distinguish from 
large houses once the roofs have collapsed and they have become 
filled with sod and overgrown with grass. Also many sites in the 
area of this study have been cut away by the river or are so heavily 
overgrown with vegetation that an accurate determination of the 
number and purpose of structures was impossible. Thus the exact 
number of villages with kashims in the Anvik-Shageluk area could 
not be determined with certainty. On the lower Innoko River and 
Shageluk Slough the major, long-established winter villages of 
Iltenleyden (HC-7), Old Shageluk (HC-8), and Holikachuk (HC-9) all 
had kashims. The remains of a structure of this type was also noted 
at HC-10 which, as previously noted, may have been a part of 
Holikachuk; deLaguna identified a kashim at HC-11. 

On the Anvik River and in the immediate vicinity of the river 
mouth there were kashims at Anvik village (HC-14), Old Anvik (HC- 
15), and, according to deLaguna, at Red Mountain (HC-23), the only 


winter village on the Anvik River. Along the Yukon from Anvik to 
the confluence with Shageluk Slough the only settlement where a 
kashim was identified with certainty by deLaguna was at Grayling 
(HC-35), although one was reported to have been located at Anvik 
Rapids (HC-43). If Vazhichagat (Ukt-3) was as important a settle- 
ment as Zagoskin believed it to be, there was probably one there 
too. Below Anvik on the Yukon there were kashims at Old Bonasila 
(HC-47), reported by Glazunov and Zagoskin; New Bonasila 
(HC-48), reported by deLaguna; Anilukhtakpak (HC-52), described 
by Glazunov and Zagoskin; and Koserefsky (HC-53) where, as 
previously noted, it served as a home for Father Robaut and Brother 
Giordano for a short while after their arrival in the area in the 
winter of 1887. 

At various times during the nineteenth and early twentieth cen- 
turies there may have been as many as 15 villages with these struc- 
tures. It is questionable, however, whether even in Zagoskin 's time 
there was a kashim in every winter village. If the site identifications 
in Chapter I are correct, Khuingitetakhten (HC-3) and Inselnost- 
lende (HC-6) apparently lacked ceremonial houses and the same may 
also have been true of other small settlements not noted by the Rus- 
sian explorer. Later, when the kashim declined in importance, these 
structures may not have been built in some newly established 
winter villages. 

E. W. Nelson, who traveled on the Yukon and Innoko rivers dur- 
ing the winter of 1880, believed that the kashim was a recent in- 
novation in this area, having been borrowed from neighboring 
Eskimos (VanStone, 1978, pp. 45-46, 71). This is probably not an ac- 
curate statement but, in fact, the definite existence of prehistoric 
structures of this type in settlements throughout the area has not 
been documented. In some respects, the kashim in a village on the 
upper Innoko described and illustrated by Nelson (VanStone, 1978, 
pp. 45-46 more closely resembles the Eskimo kashim in south- 
western Alaska (VanStone, 1968, pp. 252-258; 1970, pp. 33, 35-38) 
than it does the Ingalik kashim described by Osgood (1940, pp. 

The cycle of masked dances and ceremonies that were held in the 
kashim were the focal point of Ingalik religious and social life. As 
might be expected, however, they created ambivalent feelings in the 
minds of Russian Orthodox, Episcopalian, and Roman Catholic mis- 
sionaries. On the one hand, such ceremonies were considered 
wasteful in terms of food consumed and gifts distributed, and. of 


course, generally inconsistent with Christian beliefs. On the other, 
the missionaries were impressed with the solemnity and sincerity of 
Indian participants and felt that in some ways the ceremonies 
brought out much that was good in Indian character. Nevertheless, 
as early as 1891 Roman Catholic priests noted that the young peo- 
ple were beginning to lose some interest in the ceremonial cycle 
(Judge, 1907, pp. 54-55). This may have been due in part to efforts 
by the Russian Orthodox Church over the preceding 50 years, but 
the various secularizing influences that were already making them- 
selves felt in the Yukon Valley were doubtless primarily responsible. 

The villages of Holikachuk, Anvik, and Old Shageluk were closely 
bound by the series of annual ceremonies held in each community to 
which residents of the other two were always invited. According to 
one source, some ceremonies were not held as early as 1905 and it is 
clear that mission influence was the reason (deLaguna, 1936, p. 569). 
At Anvik in particular the old ceremonies continued to wither away 
and those that remained lost at least some of their religious con- 
notations. Some were dropped because they could no longer be per- 
formed fully and properly. At Old Shageluk and Holikachuk, 
however, a reasonably complete cycle of festivals persisted into the 
1930's (Parsons, 1921-1922, p. 71; deLaguna, 1936, p. 569). 

The decline of the Ingalik ceremonial cycle obviously affected the 
importance and function of kashims in the various settlements. As 
workshops and lounging and sleeping places for men, they would 
continue to be important for some time to come, but once the 
ceremonial aspects of kashim activities were diminished, the struc- 
ture as an institution in Ingalik life would never be the same again. 
The kashims at Old Shageluk and Holikachuk continued to be used 
as meeting houses until the villages moved in 1966 and 1963 respec- 
tively. The structure at Anvik was destroyed by fire in the 1940's 
and not rebuilt. 

Just as mission influence affected the kashim and its role in com- 
munity life, so it was also responsible for major changes in house 
construction. At Anvik, for example, the Episcopalians claimed 
credit for the gradual abandonment of the traditional semi- 
subterranean house and acceptance of above-ground log structures. 
At the time of Chapman's and Parker's arrival in the village, the 
only log houses to be seen in the area were those belonging to the 
trader, S. A. Fredericks, which were purchased by the missionaries, 
and a single log cabin belonging to the Alaska Commerical Com- 
pany. In fact, Chapman suggested that the Anvik Indians may have 


learned the rudiments of such construction from Fredericks. 
Although it is certain that at least some Anvik men were familiar 
with log construction before this time, the fact remains that such 
familiarity must have had little impact since as late as 1892 all the 
inhabitants of Anvik lived in traditional semi-subterranean houses 
of the type described in considerable detail by Osgood (1940, pp. 
302-312); it was only in the fall of that year that the first log cabins 
were built in the Anvik Point settlement (Chapman, 1893, pp. 

Within three years, however, nearly one-third of the villagers liv- 
ed in log structures and those that adopted Episcopalian Christiani- 
ty, at least superficially, moved across the river and built their 
cabins on mission land (Chapman, 1896, p. 523). Since the Anvik 
Point site, as noted previously, flooded frequently in spring, this 
doubtless provided an additional incentive for the inhabitants to 
move into log houses across the river. By 1897 fully two-thirds of 
the families residing in Anvik had log houses (Chapman, 1898, p. 

It is clear that Ingalik settlements underwent considerable 
change in the last decade of the nineteenth century as a result of the 
acceptance of log houses and the decline of the kashim. The 
ceremonial house and its many, varied activites symbolized the 
large, closely-knit community. With the collective ceremonies in 
decline, a growing interest in Christianity with its emphasis on in- 
dividual salvation, and economic changes which stressed the role of 
the individual wage-earner, some families may have felt it un- 
necessary to continue to reside in the larger settlements. The 
smaller log cabins housed individual nuclear families as opposed to 
the traditional winter houses inhabited by two or more such families 
(Osgood, 1958, p. 157). Multiple factors including missionary in- 
fluence and involvement in trapping and wage labor thus resulted in 
major changes in the community pattern. 

Population Changes 

The earliest population figures for the Anvik-Shageluk area are 
those of Andrey Glazunov who estimated that there were approx- 
imately 1,000 inhabiting the villages he visited or was told about 
during his explorations in 1834 (VanStone, 1959). Zagoskin's 
previously noted enumeration of 699 individuals in 1843 includes 
settlements on the Innoko River not visited by Glazunov (Zagoskin, 
1967, p. 307). The lower figure has been interpreted as reflecting the 


severity of the smallpox epidemic which swept western and south- 
western Alaska in 1838 and 1839. If Glazunov had visited the 
Innoko and if the settlements there were larger in 1834 than in 1843 
in the same proportion as those on the Yukon, then it is conceivable 
that the entire Anvik-Shageluk area might have supported a 
population as high as 2,000 persons at the beginning of direct con- 
tact with Russian traders. 

Some idea of the effect of the smallpox epidemic on Ingalik 
population can be achieved by taking a closer look at the population 
figures obtained by these two Russian explorers. At Anvik, 
Glazunov counted 10 houses which, based on his population figures 
for other villages, may have been inhabited by as many as 240 per- 
sons. Nine years later at the time of Zagoskin's visit there was, as 
previously noted, a population of 120 living in half as many houses. 
Similarly, for Old Bonasila, it will be remembered, Glazunov 
enumerated 120 persons living in five houses, while Zagoskin 
counted 44 people inhabiting three residences. Glazunov 's figure of 
700 for the Anilukhtakpak area seems large even though the ex- 
plorer was clearly referring to at least two communities. In any 
event, Zagoskin, in 1843, estimated a population of 170 for 
Anilukhtakpak alone (VanStone, 1959, pp. 43-45; Zagoskin, 1967, p. 

If the population estimates of the two explorers are reasonably ac- 
curate, they show clearly that the Yukon Ingalik villages lost fully 
two-thirds of their inhabitants as a result of the smallpox epidemic, 
a much higher mortality rate than is apparent from the meager in- 
formation available for other areas of western and southwestern 
Alaska. The effects of this disaster on Indian life can only be sur- 
mised since precise accounts are lacking. Nevertheless, we can 
assume that sickness was accompanied by starvation and serious 
social and economic disruption. The reduced population was forced 
to reorient itself with reference to its modified traditional lifeways 
at the very time when significant changes were being introduced 
from without. Although the Ingalik population never recovered 
from the effects of this epidemic, it is significant that apparently 
none of the major Yukon River winter villages were abandoned at 
this time. 

Population estimates for the remainder of the nineteenth century 
are not particularly reliable. The tenth federal census in 1880 
reported an approximate figure of 413 including a dubious 150 in 
"Chageluk settlements" and 10 years later the eleventh federal 


census recorded 476 (Petroff, 1884, p. 12; Porter, 1893, p. 7). During 
the first 30 years of the present century, however, more accurate 
census data were gathered by John Chapman. In 1898 he 
enumerated 652 in the Anvik-Shageluk area, while in 1900 the 
figure was 562. A decline to 452 in 1914 was attributed to a severe 
influenza epidemic which swept the lower Yukon and adjoining 
areas in the summer of 1900 (Chapman, 1898, p. 167; 1931, pp. 
398-400). Populations for the following 10 year intervals were as 













(U.S. federal census reports, vol. 1, 1931; 1952, pp. 31/56-58; 1963, 
pp. 3/10-11; 1973; table 6). 

It should be remembered that even the most carefully collected 
census figures were never more than an approximation of the 
population of an area like the lower-middle Yukon. Seasonal 
movements of people are characteristic and the number of in- 
habitants in any village always varied greatly depending on the 
time of year that a count was made. A long-time, year-around resi- 
dent like John Chapman was in a better position to make accurate 
population estimates than federal enumerators whose visits to the 
area at widely separated intervals were, of necessity, brief. Never- 
theless, it seems clear that Osgood (1958, p. 30) was correct when he 
noted that the population of the Anvik-Shageluk Ingalik and their 
closest neighbors has, since the 1840's always been "nearer to five 
hundred than a thousand." 

Distribution of Settlements 

As might be expected, the physical environment has been a major 
factor in determining the distribution of settlements throughout the 
Anvik-Shageluk area. Along the Yukon from the entrance to 
Shageluk Slough to the mouth of the Innoko River, the right bank is 
consistently high and as a result, all but a few sites and all major 
settlements are located on this side of the river. Above Anvik the 
steep right bank is broken at intervals by small open areas, usually 
at the mouths of tributary creeks, where fish camps have been 
located since the beginning of the historic period. Only at the 
mouths of the Anvik River and Grayling Creek, however, are these 


flat open areas of sufficient size to have accommodated winter 
villages. Below Anvik the right bank of the Yukon is somewhat 
lower and although areas suitable for human occupation are fewer, 
those that exist are larger. As a result, the important winter villages 
of New Bonasila, Old Bonasila, and Anilukhtakpak were located in 
this area together with the modern settlement of Holy Cross. 
Koserefsky and Vazhichagat were the only significant left bank 
settlements. The rapid changes to which this bank of the Yukon is 
subject are well illustrated by the fact that all indications of the 
presence of both villages were apparently obliterated within a 
relatively short span of years. 

Along the lower Innoko River few locations suitable for human 
habitation are immediately apparent; there are many open flat areas 
but few high banks. Only at the recently chosen location for New 
Shageluk has it been possible to utilize a gradual rise from the river 
bank and the sloping side of a low hill. All other sites are located 
where flooding was a distinct possibility, even a probability, each 
spring. The lower Anvik River resembles the lower Innoko in this 
respect, but the problem of settlement location is different since 
with the exception of Red Mountain (HC-23), there were no winter 
villages located along its banks. Fish camps were located where 
fences could be most profitably constructed. The fact that fish 
taken above the mouth of Yellow River, an Anvik tributary, are not 
considered fit for human consumption or for dog food because of 
their emaciated condition served to limit the placement of these 
camps. The small sites reported further up the Anvik were all ap- 
parently associated with winter trapping. 

The location of many camps and settlements throughout the 
Anvik-Shageluk area suggest that the possibility of spring flooding, 
although doubtless of some concern to the inhabitants, was not of 
sufficient importance to render a location unsuitable for human 
occupation. Floods, often severe, are particularly likely to occur 
above Holy Cross. The Yukon narrows in this area and cakes of mov- 
ing ice jam and effectively dam the river, forcing water back up the 
many tributary creeks and streams. Neither informants nor 
historical sources record the abandonment of any settlement 
because of recurrent flooding. Only in recent years when the village 
of Old Shageluk was relocated does this factor seem to have entered 
into the decision to move. Although particularly low places may 
have been avoided when possible as locations for villages and 
camps, if other factors such as good fishing, access to drinking 


water, strategic location in terms of travel and trade, etc. were pre- 
sent, periodic flooding appears to have been accepted as an annoy- 
ing but inevitable feature of living along the banks of a river. 

Environmental factors were doubtless the most significant deter- 
minants of settlement distribution in the prehistoric period, but 
during protohistoric and historic times historical factors have been 
of even greater importance. It is likely that the most significant 
shifts in settlement location in response to the fur trade took place 
before the Russians entered the Yukon Valley and were the result of 
adjustments made necessary by participation in the Siberia- Alaska 
trade. Even a settlement like Anvik, presumed to be of considerable 
antiquity, may owe its present location to the strategic necessity of 
having a settlement at the beginning of the most important route to 
Norton Sound. Anilukhtakpak was ideally situated to involve in- 
habitants of the Kuskokwim and Innoko rivers in the coast-interior 
trade. It will be recalled that Eskimos from the Kuskokwim were at 
Anilukhtakpak at the time of Glazunov's visit in the winter of 1834 
(VanStone, 1959, p. 45). Similarly, Zagoskin mentioned the strategic 
location of Vazhichagat with reference to the creeks tributary to the 
upper Anvik River (Zagoskin, 1967, p. 191). Although clear proof is 
lacking, it may not be an exaggeration to suggest that the early con- 
tact settlement pattern in the Anvik-Shageluk area reflected almost 
entirely the requirements of the coast-interior trade. If this were in- 
deed the case, it could mean that the major settlements in the area 
do not predate the beginning of the nineteenth century and thus had 
been occupied for only a few years at the time they were visited by 
Glazunov and Zagoskin. 

Whatever may be the accuracy of these speculations, it is clear 
that the distribution of settlements along the lower-middle Yukon 
and its tributaries was relatively little affected by the advent of 
direct contact with Russian traders. The Russians established no 
trading posts in Ingalik territory and, in any event, the profitable 
trade relations which the Indians enjoyed with the Eskimos of 
Norton Sound were more important than their relations with the 
Russian- American Company's posts at Mikhailovskiy Redoubt, 
Unalakleet, and Ikogmiut. There was little incentive to relocate set- 
tlements in order to participate in trade with the Russians, par- 
ticularly since both Russian traders and Norton Sound Eskimos 
traveled extensively throughout the Ingalik area to obtain furs. 

At the beginning of the American period, a trading post was 
established at Anvik (Raymond, 1873, pp. 170-171) and by 1910 


traders were resident more or less continuously at Old Shageluk, 
Holy Cross, and Holikachuk. For the most part, the presence of 
traders in these communities reinforced the importance of estab- 
lished centers and reduced the mobility of the population. It is ap- 
parent, therefore, that the fur traders, although important agents of 
change, did not have a significant effect on the distribution of settle- 
ments. The elimination of the Siberia- Alaska trade toward the end 
of the nineteenth century and the resultant dependence of the Inga- 
lik on materials received from American trading posts might, in the 
long run, have affected settlement pattern changes. The presence of 
free traders in the area, however, together with additional, more 
significant agents of change, reduced the potential of the fur trade 
to affect settlement location. 

Like the Russian-American Company, the Russian Orthodox 
Church did not locate in Ingalik territory. The priest stationed at 
Ikogmiut after 1845 visited the Ingalik villages at infrequent inter- 
vals. The Episcopalians and Roman Catholics, however, established 
themselves at Anvik and Holy Cross, the latter a new community 
which, as noted in Chapter IV, eventually absorbed the population 
of several settlements in the vicinity of the mouth of the Innoko 
River. These missions, therefore, must rank as the most significant 
historical determinants of settlement distribution in the late nine- 
teenth century. Together with the schools they established, mis- 
sions brought about the only major changes in Ingalik settlement 
patterns to have occurred since the advent of the Siberia-Alaska 
trade at the end of the eighteenth century. 

The intense competition between Christian missionaries and 
native shamans who believed, with good reason, that their positions 
of authority within their communities were in jeopardy occasionally 
threatened to disrupt community life. At Anvik in 1904, for exam- 
ple, friction between John Chapman and the shamans increased the 
polarization of the community to the point where one particularly 
strong shaman, Nikolai Doctor, founded a separate village about a 
mile from the mission (Chapman et al., 1904, pp. 916-917). Although 
there are no other examples of shamans founding separate settle- 
ments, it is probable that certain subsidiary villages may have been 
occupied longer than would otherwise have been the case because of 
the presence of an influential shaman. As noted in the previous 
chapter, New Bonasila (HC-48) may have been abandoned at the 
time of the death of an important shaman. An influential shaman at 
Koseref sky apparently was successful in persuading a number of his 


adherents to continue residence in that community (HCM diary, 
May 13, 1902-July 16, 1904; July 17, 1904-July 26, 1908, 
OPA/HCM, boxes 2-3). 

Gold rush activity, which began on the lower Yukon in the sum- 
mer of 1897 and continued until about 1920, brought large numbers 
of Euro-Americans into the country for the first time. The Yukon 
was an important route to the Klondike diggings and, later, to dis- 
coveries on the upper Innoko River. The presence of large numbers 
of wood-burning riverboats on the Yukon and Innoko made it possi- 
ble for the Indians to find employment as wood choppers supplying 
fuel to these vessels. Although a large number of wood camps 
sprang up along the river, most of them were not located near exist- 
ing winter villages. Indians were attached to these camps during 
the late winter and spring, but there is little indication that the 
camps, or any other aspect of gold rush activity, had a sustained 
affect on settlement patterns. 

As in most areas of Alaska, services such as education and health 
care were first offered to the Ingalik by missions and were the 
means by which these organizations successfully established them- 
selves. Government-sponsored medical services on the lower-middle 
Yukon began about 1910 and public education in 1906. Following 
the severe smallpox epidemic of 1838-1839, epidemics of various 
introduced diseases, particularly influenza and measles, took an 
almost yearly toll among the Ingalik and affected settlement pat- 
terns, particularly on the Innoko River. As previously noted, 
villagers at Anvik occasionally moved away and established at least 
one settlement in an attempt to escape an epidemic. Although set- 
tlements established for this purpose probably did not last long, 
they were nonetheless important to the population history of the 
Anvik-Shageluk area. 

Public day schools remained in the shadow of the mission board- 
ing schools for some years, but the steadily increasing importance 
of the federal schools gave the government control over the lives of 
the Indians to an increased extent. Families were strongly encour- 
aged to keep their children in school from September through May 
and these sanctions applied to everyone, whereas the influence of the 
boarding schools was strong only among those who chose to enroll 
their children. Families who failed to send their children to school or 
withdrew them to go to trapping or fish camps risked the official 
disapproval of a powerful force for change in the community. This 
kind of pressure may have been effective in eliminating small settle- 


ments and consolidating the population in the larger villages where 
the schools were located. On the Innoko River, for example, a num- 
ber of small settlements appear to have been abandoned between 
1920 and 1940 and Old Shageluk and Holikachuk, both with schools, 
soon became the only occupied villages. 

Technological innovations also played a role in settlement distri- 
bution. The introduction of the fish wheel, which was in general use 
on the lower-middle Yukon by 1913 or 1914 (Chapman, 1913, p. 50), 
changed summer settlement patterns to some extent as families 
sought good locations for their wheels, locations that often were not 
suitable for traps and nets. Another significant innovation which 
greatly affected summer subsistence and residence was the gasoline- 
powered outboard motor. These motors were in use by 1918 and 
eliminated most of the arduous effort previously associated with 
river transportation. According to informants, some Innoko River 
residents maintained fish camps on the Yukon at considerable dis- 
tances from Old Shageluk after the introduction of the outboard 
motor, but the location of fish camps of the Yukon River Ingalik do 
not seem to have been affected to the same degree. 

Settlement Pattern Continuity and Change 

It is apparent that the major Ingalik settlements on the Yukon 
and Innoko rivers continued to be important into the modern period. 
The settlement of Holikachuk, inhabited by members of that Atha- 
paskan group, also retained its importance almost up to the present 
time. This stability seems less significant, however, when it is re- 
called that during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries there 
may have been, at one time or another, as many as 26 settlements 
with permanent bases in the Anvik-Shageluk area. Since there are 
only four at the present time, there has obviously been a consider- 
able coalescence of population. Some of the reasons for this have 
already been considered and others will be examined in this section. 

The greatest amount of coalescence has taken place on the lower 
Innoko River where nine and possibly 12 settlements may have 
been winter villages, but only one remains. The significance of the 
school at Old Shageluk in this respect has been suggested. Of equal 
importance, perhaps, has been the marginal position of the Innoko 
since the decline of gold mining on the upper river about 1920. 
Although informants' statements and the historical record are not 
as detailed as might be desired, it would appear that most of the 
sites on the lower Innoko were abandoned by 1930 or shortly there- 
after, a time that coincides with the decline of mining and the 


serious influenza epidemic of 1918-1919. Some of the inhabitants of 
these settlements moved to Old Shageluk and others to Yukon 
River villages. Although Old Shageluk and its newer counterpart 
have continued to maintain a sizeable population, the inhabitants of 
Holikachuk moved to the Yukon when the inaccessibility of the old 
settlement appeared a hindrance to the desire of its inhabitants to 
benefit from improved communication facilities in west-central 
Alaska. The gold rush itself may not have changed Innoko settle- 
ment patterns, but the river was certainly a more isolated and thus 
less favorable place to live once regular river traffic had disappeared 
for good. 

At the mouth of the Anvik River, the settlement pattern has re- 
mained relatively consistent throughout the period covered by this 
study, largely because of the importance of Anvik village and its 
strategic location as a "gateway" to the Anvik-Shageluk region. 
Other settlements have existed in the immediate area but none have 
lasted for any length of time and their inhabitants have invariably 
returned to the main settlement. Throughout the historic period the 
Anvik River has served primarily as the location of fish camps and 
the prohibition of subsistence fishing on the river which went into 
effect about 1930 has effectively prevented seasonal residence along 
the river since that time. 

Another area where fish camps predominated was along the 
Yukon from Anvik to the confluence with Shageluk Slough. Here 
were located camps occupied by Ingalik and Holikachuk Indians, 
but with the possible exception of HC-43, there were no winter vil- 
lages along this stretch of river. Of the various regions into which 
the area covered by this study has been divided, this one has main- 
tained the most stable settlement pattern throughout the historic 

Along the Yukon below Anvik a definite coalescence of population 
has been documented and since the 1930's there have been no settle- 
ments other than fish camps along this stretch of river except the 
mission and village at Holy Cross. Both Bonasila and Koserefsky 
would appear to have succumbed to the continually increasing im- 
portance of the mission centers at Anvik and Holy Cross as did the 
settlement of Shageluk Point (HC-55) inside the mouth of the In- 
noko. As the twentieth century progressed, these missions increas- 
ingly controlled communication with the outside world. Once river 
traffic had declined, the attraction of these centers was strong 


Settlement Pattern Determinants - A Comparison 

Between 1964 and 1969 I carried out studies of nineteenth and 
early twentieth century settlement patterns along the Nushagak 
River, its tributaries, and adjacent areas of Nushagak Bay in 
southwestern Alaska (VanStone, 1971). The inhabitants of this bay 
and river system, the Aglegmiut and Kiatagmiut Eskimos, were in- 
fluenced by the fur trade, the Russian Orthodox Church, and the 
Moravian Church which established a mission station near the 
trading center of Nushagak in 1886. The influence of the latter, 
however, was never great and the mission was abandoned in 1906 
(VanStone, 1967, pp. 45-46). Of greater significance than either 
Christianity or the fur trade for the acculturation of the Eskimos of 
the Nushagak River region was the commercial salmon fishing in- 
dustry that began to develop in Bristol Bay during the 1880 's 
(VanStone, 1967, pp. 63-82). In the Nushagak region, as in the area 
occupied by the Ingalik and Holikachuk Athapaskans, historical 
events were more important than environmental factors in deter- 
mining the distribution of settlements between 1800 and the pres- 
ent. Although involvement in the fur trade greatly affected the 
subsistence patterns in both areas, it is questionable whether it 
brought about any greater change in Nushagak area settlement pat- 
terns than it did on the Yukon. In both areas the major river villages 
were sedentary seasonal settlements and there is no reason to think 
that the shift to a trapping-trading economy changed this. The 
riverine orientation of the Ingalik continued to focus their attention 
on the Yukon and Innoko even though the Indians were dispersed 
during the trapping season. As in the Nushagak area, involvement 
by the Indians of the lower-middle Yukon in the fur trade may have 
reduced the amount of time which the people spent in their river 
villages, but not enough to bring about major shifts in the settle- 
ment pattern. 

In the Nushagak River region a proliferation of small settlements 
occurred between 1880 and 1940 resulting in a more even spread of 
population throughout the region. Although this trend toward pro- 
liferation could not be interpreted with assurance, it appeared to be 
tied in with the growing commercial fishing industry and a signifi- 
cant movement of people into the Nushagak region from other parts 
of southwestern Alaska. Also during this period the river villages 
became more sedentary and less seasonal in their occupation as the 
Eskimos became more involved in fishing and less dependent on 
hunting and earnings from trapping. 


On the lower-middle Yukon there was no indigenous commercial 
development comparable to the commercial fishing industry in 
Bristol Bay. The effects of the gold rush, although impressive for a 
while, were transient since there was little actual mining in the 
vicinity of Ingalik villages. Although a certain coalescence of 
population may have taken place as a result of the gold rush, there 
is no evidence that any major winter village was abandoned for 
reasons related to mining activity with the possible exception of set- 
tlements on the upper Innoko which were close to the actual mining 

On the Nushagak and its tributaries after 1900, epidemics, par- 
ticularly the influenza epidemic of 1918-1919, sharply reduced the 
population and was responsible for the abandonment of some set- 
tlements. This was true on the lower-middle Yukon as well, par- 
ticularly, as previously noted, along the lower Innoko River. 
Although Russian Orthodox chapels had been built in some 
Nushagak area communities before the turn of the century, 
churches did not influence settlement patterns until the 1920's. The 
effects of the establishment of schools and government agencies 
were not significant until even later. Among the Ingalik, however, 
the t effects of these agents of change can be documented much 
earlier and were, in fact, the major determinants of settlement 

A basic continuity of settlement distribution existed throughout 
the historic period in both areas in spite of changes brought about 
by the various agents of change that have been mentioned. On the 
Innoko this continuity is represented by the settlements of Old 
Shageluk (HC-8) and later New Shageluk and Holikachuk (HC-9). 
On the Yukon it includes Grayling (HC-35), really an extension of 
Holikachuk, Anvik (HC-14), and Holy Cross (HC-54). 


Archival Sources 

Archives and Historical Collections, the Episcopal Church. Episcopal Semi- 
nary of the Southwest, Austin, Texas. 
Alaska Papers of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, 1884-1952, 104 

John W. and Henry H. Chapman Papers. 
Archives and Manuscript Collections, University of Alaska, Fairbanks. 
Diary of First Lieutenant George Adams (Western Union Telegraph Expedition), 
April 28- June 11, 1866 (typewritten copy; original in the manuscript collection, 
University of Washington Library). 
Diary of F. M. Smith (Western Union Telegraph Expedition), August 26, 1865- 
March 22, 1867 (typewritten copy; original in the manuscript collection, Univer- 
sity of Washington Library). 
Yukon navigation chart, circa 1912. 

Archives of the Russian Orthodox Church in Alaska. St. Hermans Pastoral 
School, Kodiak, Alaska. 

Parish records, Kvikhpak Mission (Duplicator copies in the Alaska Historical 
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of Toronto Press. 


Aglegmiut Eskimos, 86 

Alaska Shortline Railway, 67 

Aleksi's Barbora. See Johnny Paul's 
Camp (HC-49) 

Aniluchtakpakh. See Anilukhtakpak 

Anilukhtakpak (HC-52), 72, 73, 74, 75, 
78, 80, 81: abandonment of, 62; 
described by Glazunov, 61; describ- 
ed by Zagoskin, 61-62; importance 
as trading center, 69; location of, 
61-62; population of, 61-62 

Anvik: meaning of name, 31 

Anvik Old Station, 37, 38 

Anvik Point. See Anvik Village 

Anvik Rapids. See Hall's Rapids 

Anvik River, 3, 4, 9, 32, 36, 37, 39, 53, 
72, 74, 75, 79, 80, 81, 85; caribou 
hunting on, 44; coalescence of set- 
tlements on, 85; geography of, 31; 
location of settlements on, 80; 
population of, 44; settlements on, 
41-42, 72; trade route to the coast, 
43; travel on, 43-44; winter camps 
on, 42-43 

Anvik-Shageluk area: coalescence of 
settlements in, 84; continuity of set- 
tlement patterns in, 87; earliest 
population estimates of, 77; location 
of settlements in, 79, 80; population 
of, 79 

Anvik Slough, 39 

Anvik Village (HC-14), 9, 31, 40, 42, 43, 
45, 48, 53, 54, 55, 58, 59, 60, 71, 72, 
74-78 {passim), 80-83 {passim), 85, 
87; deLaguna's description of, 36; 

description of, 32, 36-37; Episcopal 
mission at, 36; growth of, 37; popula- 
tion of, 37, 38, 39 

Beardsley, R. etal.: settlement classifi- 
cation of, 70-71 

Beaver Creek, 43 

Big under the tree (HC-24), 42, 72 

Bonasila River, 42, 54 

Branches to put in one place. See 
Lushka's Fish Camp (HC-2) 

Bristol Bay, 86, 87 

Bureau of Indian Affairs: builds school 
at New Shageluk, 19, 21 

Camp robber takes somebody's fish 

(HC-26), 43, 72 
Cement Hill, 55, 56, 58 
Ceremonies: among Ingalik Indians, 

75; decline of, 76; effect of missions 

on, 75, 76 
Chagelyuk River. See Innoko River 
Chageluk Slough. See Innoko River 
Chang, K-C: settlement typology of, 

Chapman, Rev. John W., 10, 16, 18, 22, 

36; influence of on Ingalik houses, 

76-77; population estimates of, 26, 

28, 30, 38, 50, 57-58, 79 
Charlie Wulf's Point (HC-28), 48 
Chase, William (trader), 40 
Cold Creek, 55, 56 
Cook Inlet, 67 
Cristo, John (trader), 22 
Crystal rocks (HC-25), 43, 72 

Deadman's Slough, 3, 54 
Deer Hunting Slough, 59 




deLaguna, F.: describes Anvik Village, 
36; describes Grayling, 50; describes 
Hall's Rapids, 52; describes Old 
Anvik, 39 

Dementi (Oph-1), 29, 71; derivation of 
name, 28; description of, 27-28; 
population of, 28; visited by 
Kolmakov, 27 

Dementov, N., 28 

Deminti. See Dementi (Oph-1) 

Dikeman, 29 

Dishkakat, 29, 31 

Dishna River, 29 

Doctor, Nikolai, 41, 82 

Eagle Island, 51 

Ekarotsor. See Inselnostlende (HC-6) 

Environment: as determinant of set- 
tlement patterns, 81 

Epidemics: effects of on settlement 
patterns, 83; influence of in 
Nushagak River area, 87. See also in- 
fluenza epidemic of 1918-1919; 
smallpox epidemic of 1838-1839 

Episcopal mission: established among 
the Ingalik, 7; influence on Ingalik, 7 

Eskimos: trade with Ingalik Indians, 
4, 43 

First Fish Camp (HC-19), 41, 72 
Fish wheel: effect of on settlement 

patterns, 84 
Flat, 68 
Forks, the. See Nikadoddelenten 

Four Mile (HC-27), 9, 14, 45-46, 48 
Fox Point Island, 45, 72 
Fur trade: patterns of, 6 

Ghost Creek (HC-51), 62, 63, 64, 72; 

description of, 60-61; excavations at, 

Glazunov, A.: describes Anilukhtak- 

pak, 61; explorations of, 6, 43, 44; 

population estimates of, 37, 57, 61, 

Gold rush: effects of on settlement 

patterns, 8, 83; influence of on In- 
galik, 8 

Gost Creek. See Ghost Creek 

Government services: effects of on set- 
tlement patterns, 83, 84 
Grayling (HC-35), 9, 23. 25, 27, 29, 53, 
72, 75, 87; described by deLaguna, 
50; described by Hrdlic"ka, 50; 
description of, 49-50; population of, 
Grayling Creek, 23, 48, 49, 50, 53, 79 
Grayling Island. See Eagle Island 
Gudrinethchax. See Anvik Village 

Hall's Rapids (HC-43), 72, 85; describ- 
ed by deLaguna, 52; description of, 

Hawk Bluff, 31, 40 

HC-10, 10, 11, 24, 30, 74 

HC-11, 25, 30, 74 

HC-21, 42, 72 

HC-30, 48 

HC-32, 49 

HC-36-41, 51 

HC-42, 51 

HC-44-45, 54, 72 

HC-46, 54-55, 72 

Hoeingitetakhten. See Khuingitetakh- 
ten (HC-3) 

Holikachuk Indians, 9; area occupied 
by, 4; changes in settlement pat- 
terns of, 73; fish camps of, 51, 52, 63; 
move to Yukon River, 4; relations 
with Ingalik, 4; seasonal cycle of, 73; 
trading and, 27 

Holikachuk Slough, 3, 9, 12, 14, 25, 26, 

Holikachuk Village (HC-9), 9, 14, 21, 
25, 26, 27, 30, 53, 71, 74, 76, 82, 84, 
85, 87; description of, 22-23; location 
of, 30; population of, 23-24; residents 
move to Yukon, 23, 27 

Hologachaket. See Holikachuk Village 

Horse camp, the. See Railroad City 

Holy Cross (HC-54), 4, 9, 12, 24, 25, 36, 
53, 59, 60, 62, 63. 67, 69, 72, 80, 82, 
85, 87; changes in river channel near, 



66; community pattern of, 66; 
decline of, 66-67; description of, 64, 
66; Innoko gold rush and, 66; 
population of, 66; Roman Catholic 
mission established at, 66; Roman 
Catholic mission at closes, 66 
Hrdlic'ka, A.: describes Grayling, 50 

Iditarod River, 3, 37; discovery of gold 
on, 28-29; inhabitants of, 28-29; 
navigation of, 29 

Iditarod (town), 28, 29 

Ikogmiut, 21, 53, 57, 81; destruction 
of, 27; establishment of, 6; establish- 
ment of mission at, 7 

Iltenleyden (HC-7), 21, 71, 74; describ- 
ed by Zagoskin, 18; description of, 

Iliamna Bay, 67 

Influenza epidemic of 1918-1919: im- 
portance of, 26. See also epidemics, 
smallpox epidemic of 1838-1839 

Ingalik Indians: area occupied by, 3, 4; 
ceremonies of, 75, 76; changing com- 
munity patterns of, 77; changing 
settlement patterns of, 73; decline of 
kashim among, 76; effects of mis- 
sions on community patterns of, 77; 
effects of missions on houses of, 76, 
77; effects of smallpox epidemic of 
1838-1839 on, 78; household size of, 
74; houses of, 73, 76, 77; hunting by, 
44; importance of fur trade to, 6, 7; 
influence of gold rush on, 8; influence 
of missions on, 7; kashims of, 73, 74; 
neighbors of, 4; population of, 78-79; 
role of fur trade in community pat- 
terns of, 77; settlement types of, 71; 
subsistence cycle of, 4, 6, 44, 73; 
trade with Eskimos, 4, 43; wage 
labor and community patterns of, 
77; winter villages of, 73 

Innoko City, 30 

Innoko Lowlands, 3, 45 

Innoko (post office), 29 

Innoko River, 3, 4, 8, 9, 12, 16, 23, 25, 
30, 53, 61, 63, 64, 67, 68, 69, 75, 79, 
81, 83, 84, 86, 87; coalescence of set- 
tlement on, 84-85; location of set- 

tlements on, 80; named by Zagoskin, 

14; settlement types along, 71. See 

also Upper Innoko River 
Innoko Valley: description of, 12, 14 
Inreal'ra-meut. See Holy Cross 

Inselnostlende (HC-6), 17, 71, 75 
Ittege River. See Innoko River 

Jackson Creek, 42 

Jette, Father Jules, 15, 17, 25, 28, 29, 

31, 32, 52, 55, 59, 64, 66 
Joe Hamilton's Fish Camp (HC-29), 48 
John Deacon's Fish Camp (HC-34), 49 
Johnny Paul's Camp (HC-49), 59 

Kaiyuh Mountains, 12 

Kaltag, 29 

Kashim: antiquity of in Anvik- 
Shageluk area, 75; decline in role of, 
76; description of, 21, 61; function of 
among Ingalik, 74; number in Anvik- 
Shageluk area, 74, 75; resemble 
those of southwestern Alaska, 75 

Kedzokakat. See Anvik Village 

Kedzono. See Anvik River 

Khuingitetakhten (HC-3), 15, 16, 71, 
74, 75 

Khuligichagat. See Holikachuk Village 

Kiatagmiut Eskimos, 86 

Kkholikakat. See Dishkakat 

Klan-ti-linten. See Hall's Rapids 

Klikitarik, 53 

Kolmakov, Petr F.: explorations of, 27, 

Kolmakovskiy Redoubt, 28 

Korotsenaledalten. See Dishkakat 

Koserefski River, 59 

Koserefsky (HC-53), 59, 60, 62, 68, 69, 
72, 75, 85; abandonment of, 64; 
description of, 63; location of, 63-64 

Kuskokwim Mountains, 12 

Kuskokwim River, 12, 27, 28, 69, 81 

Kwikpagmiut Eskimos, 4 



Leather Village. See Koserefsky 

Lower Innoko River: population of, 
26-27. See also Innoko River 

Lower Village (HC-18), 40-41, 71 

Lower Yukon River: settlement pat- 
terns along, 69. See also Yukon 

Lucius Young's Fish Camp (HC-31), 

Lushkas Fish Camp (HC-2), 15, 71 

Long Mountain, 58, 59 

Magimiut. See Old Bonasila (HC-47) 

Makagamute. See Old Bonasila 

Malemiut Eskimos: trade with Ingalik 
Indians, 27 

Melozitna River, 12 

Mikhailovskiy Redoubt, 6, 53, 81. See 
also St. Michael 

Missions: effect of on Ingalik com- 
munity patterns, 77; effect of on In- 
galik houses, 76; effect of on Ingalik 
settlement patterns, 82; influence in 
Nushagak River area, 86 

Murderer's Village. See Old Bonasila 

Nulato, 6, 15, 27, 53, 63 

Nushagak River area: determinants of 
settlement patterns in, 86-87; in- 
fluence of epidemic in, 87; influence 
of missions in, 86; proliferation of 
settlements in, 86; settlement pat- 
terns compared with Anvik- 
Shageluk area, 86-87 

Old Anvik (HC-15), 45, 71, 74; describ- 
ed by deLaguna. 39; description of, 

Old Bonasila (HC-47), 21, 58, 61, 63, 
69, 72, 74, 75, 78, 80, 85; description 
of, 55-56; abandonment of, 57; ex- 
cavations at, 56-57; population of, 

Old Grayling. See Grayling (HC-35) 

Old Shageluk (HC-8). 16, 17, 22, 23, 32, 
52, 53, 67, 71, 74, 76, 80, 82, 84, 85, 
87; abandonment of, 19; description 
of, 18-19, 21-22; location of kashim 
at, 21; population of, 21, 22 

Old Swiftwater. See Khuingitetakhten 

Otter Creek, 3, 43 

Outboard motors: effect on settlement 
patterns of, 84 

Nelson, E. W.: population estimates of, 

Nenana, 24 
Netsene'anten. See Old Bonasila 

New Bonasila (HC-48), 72, 75, 80, 82, 

85; abandonment of, 58-59; 

establishment of, 57; description of, 

New Shageluk, 9, 14, 17, 19, 25, 27, 28, 

29, 80, 87 
New Swiftwater (HC-5), 16, 71 
Nick Dementief's Fish Camp (HC-50), 

Nikadodellenten (HC-13), 25, 71 
Niltchadodelenten. See Nikadodellen- 
ten (HC-13) 
Nilteelihten. See Nikadodellenten 

Norton Sound, 31, 45, 53, 81 

Paradise, 59 

Peter Hamilton's Fish Camp (HC-17), 

40, 72 
Pickett's Wood. See Grayling (HC-35) 
Place where something is left. See 

First Fish Camp (HC-19) 
Post, the (HC-16), 40, 72 

Quologutchiaku. See Khuingitetakh- 

Radiloten. See Dementi (Oph-1) 
Railroad City (HC-56), 63, 69, 72; aban- 
donment of, 68-69; as transfer point 
for freight, 68; description of, 67-68; 
Indian inhabitants of, 68; renamed, 
Red Mountain (HC-23), 42, 72, 74, 80 
Red-stone. See Red Mountain (HC-23) 
Red Wing. See Railroad City (HC-56) 



Red Wing Slough, 67 

Refuge Creek, 52 

Richardson, Alec (trader), 67 

Roman Catholic mission: established 
at Holy Cross, 7, 66; influence on In- 
galik, 7; withdraws from Holy Cross, 

St. Joe Hill, 15 

St. Michael, 43, 63. See also Mikhailov- 
skiy Redoubt 

Schoolhouse Village. See Old Shageluk 

Schools: effect on settlement patterns 
of, 83-84 

Shageluk Lake, 19 

Shageluk Point (HC-55), 63, 67, 68, 72, 

Shageluk Slough, 3, 9, 12, 14, 23, 25, 
26, 53, 79, 85 

Shamanism: effect on settlement pat- 
terns of, 82-83 

Shiltonotno. See Innoko River 

Siberia-Alaska trade: effects on settle- 
ment patterns of, 81, 82; Russian- 
American Co. and, 6 

Simon Creek, 53 

Sleep on the other side (HC-1), 15, 71 

Smallpox epidemic of 1838-1839, 62, 
83; destruction of Ikogmiut and, 27; 
effects on population of Anvik 
Village, 38; effects on population of 
Ingalik, 78; severity of, 4. See also 
epidemics, influenza epidemic of 

Spruce branches shaking in the cur- 
rent. See Big under the tree (HC-24), 
Willow grass in slough (HC-22) 

Spruce tree slough (HC-4), 16, 71 

Sulatna River, 29 

Swift River, 43 

Tamarack tree (HC-20), 41, 72 
Tanedilenten. See Hall's Rapids 

Theodore Creek, 43 
Thompson Slough. See Holikachuk 

Tihkakat, 29 

Tihloyikeyit. See Holy Cross (HC-54) 

Tlegon River. See Innoko River 

Tlegon (settlement), 29 

Tlegozhitno. See Old Shageluk (HC-8) 

Tozhgelede (HC-12), 25, 71 

Trade: as determinant of community 
patterns, 77; as determinant of set- 
tlement patterns, 81, 82 

Tseyozaron, 59 

Ttality. See Dementi (Oph-1) 

Turtle Island, 54 

Two sloughs. See Nikadoddellenten 

Ukt-1, 52-53 

Ukt-2, 53 

Unalakleet, 43, 81 

Unaligmiut Eskimos, 4 

Under the rocks (site), 43 

Upper Innoko River: inhabitants of, 

27, 28, 29-30. See also Innoko River, 

lower Innoko River 
Upper Village. See Holy Cross (HC-54) 

Vazhichagat (Ukt-3), 53, 72, 74, 75, 81 
Victor's Point, 59 
Victor Vent's Camp (HC-33), 49 
Village at the end. See Tamarack tree 

Wage labor: as determinant of com- 
munity patterns, 77 

Walker, James (trader), 60, 61 

Walker Slough, 59 

Western Fur and Trading Co.: collapse 
of, 6 

Willow grass in slough (HC-22), 42, 72 

Yalchikatna. See Iditarod River 

Yakutzkelignik. See Vazhichagat 

Yellow River, 43, 80 

Yukon River: coalescence of set- 
tlements on, 85; location of fish 
camps along, 48, 51, 52, 53, 54; loca- 
tion of settlements on, 80; 
physiographic characteristics of, 45, 
54; Russian fur trade on, 6; set- 


tlements along, 53; settlement types 
along, 71-72. See also lower Yukon 

Zagoskin, Lieut. L. A.: describes 
Anilukhtakpak, 61-62; describes II- 
tenleyden, 18; names Innoko River, 
14; population estimates of, 15, 18, 
21, 23, 26, 27-28, 37-38, 57, 74, 77-78; 
villages visited by, 73-74 

Publication 1296